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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
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Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999)

by Tracy Chevalier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
A young girl's chance meeting with a genius that eventually led to her being immortalized in paint and canvas. While at some points the book seemed interesting, the general tone of the book was hazy. While Veneer may be a brilliant artist, I could not say the same for Chevalier. This book did not live up to the hype surrounding it. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 14, 2014 |
I picked up this book because the painting captured my attention.

It was an OK story, I didn't really find the main characters and secondary characters too likeable or that relate able, there was probably only a few secondary characters that I liked.

Any ways, I did enjoy reading about the painting techniques and how some paint colours were mixed/crushed to create that specific colour.

While the author did a fairly good job at imagining and weaving a story behind the girl with the pearl earring, there is definitely room for more details and other development to make this story better. Would be nice if some more historical context was provided.

Overall, it was an OK read. ( )
  Dream24 | Aug 21, 2014 |
I read this book many years ago. I still own this book, and I have even listened to this book on tape. I have have even seen the movie. The movie, however, just doesn't seem to do this author's written word justice. I loved this book. There was a great amount of sexual tension going on between the main character and her two main 'suitors, while she seemed willingly or unwillingly stuck in the middle of such attentions. She was sent as a maid-servant to the house a now-famous painter, Vermeer and his wife. There she meets an assistant butcher who is 'smitten' by her and pursues her. The people she stays with, however are Catholics, and she is stuck in a foreign world, caught in a web of the rich and upper-class Catholics while she fights to support her family while trying to pursue a man to hang on to her own culture in such a foreign world in her own country. ( )
  AniIma | Aug 18, 2014 |
Nice quick read to pass the time. The book could have benefited from applying more structure to the chapters. ( )
  artikaur | Mar 31, 2014 |
This is a marvelous book. The descriptions of Delft, of the paintings of Vermeer, of the household, of Griet's life -- all are so beautifully told, but without the self-consciousness that so many authors exhibit when setting their novels.

The story of Griet was told from her point of view, from the time of her entry into service in the Vermeer household until she leaves at age 18. Nothing else I say can do the book justice. It was great. ( )
  wareagle78 | Mar 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
For a while it seems that it will be... an artist romance. Tracy Chevalier steers her novel deliberately close and tacks abruptly away. The book she has written, despite a lush note or two and occasional incident overload, is something far different and better... [Instead, it is] a brainy novel whose passion is ideas.
 
Chevalier's exploration into the soul of this complex but nave young woman is moving, and her depiction of 17th-century Delft is marvelously evocative.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tracy Chevalierprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bruning, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eikli, RagnhildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortier-Masek, Marie-OdileTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gothóni, ArjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pugliese, LucianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riera, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strandberg, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vázquez, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wulfekamp, UrsulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Chevalier's classic book takes place during the 17th Century and features Griet, a young Dutch maid, who moves in with the family of the well-known artist Vermeer; she discovers that her profession requires long hours, no privacy, and small contact with her own ailing family. However, Griet's only place of solitude is when she cleans Vermeer's studio and reveals to him her appreciation of his art.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452282152, Paperback)

With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries--and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.

Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.

Throughout, Chevalier cultivates a limpid, painstakingly observed style, whose exactitude is an effective homage to the painter himself. Even Griet's most humdrum duties take on a high if unobtrusive gloss:

I came to love grinding the things he brought from the apothecary--bones, white lead, madder, massicot--to see how bright and pure I could get the colors. I learned that the finer the materials were ground, the deeper the color. From rough, dull grains madder became a fine bright red powder and, mixed with linseed oil, a sparkling paint. Making it and the other colors was magical.
In assembling such quotidian particulars, the author acknowledges her debt to Simon Schama's classic study The Embarrassment of Riches. Her novel also joins a crop of recent, painterly fictions, including Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever and Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Can novelists extract much more from the Dutch golden age? The question is an open one--but in the meantime, Girl with a Pearl Earring remains a fascinating piece of speculative historical fiction, and an appealingly new take on an old master. --Jerry Brotton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:34 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Holland comes to dazzling life in this richly imagined portrait of Griet, a sixteen year old of the 1660s who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

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