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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
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Girl with a Pearl Earring (original 1999; edition 2001)

by Tracy Chevalier

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13,611264156 (3.77)513
Member:jwhenderson
Title:Girl with a Pearl Earring
Authors:Tracy Chevalier
Info:Plume (2001), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Book Groups
Rating:****
Tags:historical fiction, novel, art

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Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (1999)

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» See also 513 mentions

English (242)  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 (262)
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
While not my favorite read so far, this book is at least moderately enjoyable. More importantly, though it is set in 1660s Europe, this novel highlights the illusion of social mobility we cling to and our obsession with appearances. We like to think that we have moved on from the prejudices of Griet's days, but some of what she faces feels all too familiar. ( )
  km.bezner | Aug 25, 2016 |
A terrific novel. The detail is fine and the reader is drawn into the story so completely. I found the novel every bit as captivating as the painting itself. It's beautifully written. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
A terrific novel. The detail is fine and the reader is drawn into the story so completely. I found the novel every bit as captivating as the painting itself. It's beautifully written. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
Muse of Vermeer — Excellent in Delft —

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.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 19, 2016 |
4.5 Stars. A well told story and excellent reading experience that just carries you away. An interesting perspective of life in 17th Century Holland and how artists frame pictures, and structure a picture. Tracy Chevalier's books may be short but they do have a flavour all of their own and give you an experience of life in the times she writes about. I very much look forward to my next book by her. ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 242 (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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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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