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Girl with a Pearl Earring, Deluxe Edition (original 1999; edition 2005)

by Tracy Chevalier

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13,335257165 (3.77)504
Member:PaolaF
Title:Girl with a Pearl Earring, Deluxe Edition
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Plume (2005), Edition: Deluxe, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (1999)

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» See also 504 mentions

English (234)  Spanish (4)  Italian (4)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Thingamabrarian (the ideal language) (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
Inspired by the Vermeer painting, this historical novel might be a disappointment if one was hoping to learn about the life and motivations of the master painter. Instead, the book focuses on the fictional Griet, a young woman who is forced to take a position as a maid in the Vermeer household, after her own family falls on hard times. (It reminded me a little of Valerie Martin's re-telling of the Jekyll & Hyde story from the point of view of the maid, ‘Mary Reilly')
In bringing vividly to life the trials and hopes of Griet, as well as what it may have been like to work as a maid in 17th century Delft, the book succeeds fabulously... the book is ‘quiet' – there's not much action, no extraordinary events... but the littlest things become points of high tension through Chevalier's writing. Will the bullying child Cornelia succeed in ruining Griet's reputation? Will anything come of the sleazy art patron who's trying to sleaze his way into her skirts? How about the handsome young butcher who pays her attention at the market? And what will happen with her almost-unrealized crush on Vermeer himself?
I'll definitely check out more of Chevalier's books if I come across them! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
An extraordinarily well-written book - the fictionalized story behind the famous Vermeer painting. Luminously written. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but these thousand words paint a magnificent picture.

I went to a book-signing in January 2001 and Chevalier said she wanted the reader to fly through the book with breathless anticipation. That's certainly how I read it the first time. But then I read it again - slowly - to savor each perfect word. I prefer the slow read, and I told Chevalier that.

Our book club had a lot of discussion on whether the book should have / could have ended earlier ... when she is in the center of the square deciding in which direction to go.

There is a scene in the book where Vermeer is trying to get Griet to "see" the colors in the clouds. At the end of that scene Griet says "After that, I could not stop looking at things." I felt the same way on reading Girl With a Pearl Earring. Just typing this review makes me look around and really observe the world around me.
Quite simply a magnificent book ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 9, 2016 |
I was surprised really at how different a work this was from [b:The Virgin Blue|2873|The Virgin Blue|Tracy Chevalier|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309203399s/2873.jpg|1294261]which I read immediately prior to this. It seems my experience with authors that go back and forth between past and present is that they tend to do it consistently, but this was rooted firmly in the 17th century. I enjoyed the historical aspects of a time and place with which I was not already familiar. Quick easy read. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
Since almost nothing is known about Vermeer, it's pretty easy to take liberties...a first-person narrative that's easy to swallow - and if it gets one to cleaning up the apartment too... ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Novel based loosely on the life of the painter Vermeer. Readable and believable although a bit too realistic in places for my tastes. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 234 (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
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:39 -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.

(summary from another edition)

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