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Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Tulip Fever (1999)

by Deborah Moggach

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9843813,224 (3.37)90
  1. 00
    The Black Tulip by Alexandre père Dumas (janerawoof)
    janerawoof: More about tulipmania.
  2. 01
    The Coffee Trader by David Liss (cransell)
    cransell: Another novel based in Holland - this time centered around the coffee, rather than the tulip craze.

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» See also 90 mentions

English (36)  Dutch (2)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Bored by the end, I didn't care what happened to the main characters. People who play the stock market (or tulip futures) are dumb. Young wife falls in love with an artist and plots to leave her older humband.
[read 2003-15 yr ago] ( )
  juniperSun | Jan 18, 2019 |
Tulip Fever - Moggach
3 stars

I should never see the movie before reading the book. I knew how the story ended and could not maintain my attention as the characters in this book made desperately stupid decisions over and over again. Also, I wasn’t happy that the author changed the perspective with each chapter. The storytelling would have been smoother from a single voice. Overall, I felt that both the movie and the book were a bit depressing. ( )
  msjudy | Jan 1, 2019 |
Amsterdam in the 17th century was a time when commerce was king and the sale of tulip bulbs made some people very rich and others bankrupt. This is the setting for ‘Tulip Fever’ by Deborah Moggach, when Rembrandt and Vermeer painted some of the most-recognised art of our time. Sophia’s husband Cornelis is rich, thanks to tulips, and he celebrates his wealth by commissioning a joint portrait to be painted. It is a decision which changes their lives.
The deft switching of viewpoints – and each chapter is a single voice, Sophia, Cornelis, Jan [the painter], Maria [their servant] and Willem [Maria’s lover] – allows for a new take on each situation. The plot moves quickly, things are hinted at and passed over but relevant later. It is the sort of novel which seems simple but has hidden depths. The language can be so sensual. “Jacob van Loos is not painting the old man’s mouth. He is painting Sophia’s lips. He mixes pink on his palette – ochre, grey and carmine – and strokes the paint lovingly on the canvas. She is gazing at him. For a moment, when the old man was talking, her lips curved into a smile – a smile of complicity. He paints the ghost of this, though it is now gone.”
The reader must remain vigilant to catch everything. After four chapters I realised the significance of the quotation at the head of each chapter, and went back to the beginning again. They shed fresh light on the story being told. For example, “‘Trust not to appearances.’ Jacob Cats, ‘Moral Emblems’, 1632.” And, another chapter heading, by the same author, ‘Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret places is pleasant.’
In places, Moggach’s description echoes Dutch paintings of the period: “Sophia stands at the window. She is reading the letter. Through the glass, sunlight streams on to her face. Her hair is pulled back from her brow. Tiny pearls nestle in her headband; they catch the light, winking at the severity of her coiffure. She wears a black bodice, shot with lines of velvet and silver. Her dress is violet silk; its pewtery sheen catches the light.” Certainly an understanding of art of the period will help a reader get more from the text.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Sep 12, 2018 |
I was hoping for this little book to pack a greater punch than it did. Deborah Moggach was able to spin an interesting tale that involves a scandalous affair and an even more complicated plan hatched by some of the characters. I was hoping for a bit more of the Dutch atmosphere, more of the historic Amsterdam where this novel takes place. That being said, the story is short and sweet and does leave the reader a bit on the edge of their seat to find out whether or not the characters will get what they want in the end. ( )
  justagirlwithabook | Jun 2, 2018 |
"Girl with a Pearl Earring"-esque ( )
  aljosa95 | Mar 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moggach, Deborahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eltes, PollyAuthor photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noulian, L.Traduttoresecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vermeer, JohannesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is the people who live on top, restfully and staidly underneath it is their shadows which move...I should not wonder if the surface of the grachts still reflected the shadows of people from bygone centuries, men in broad ruffs and women in mob caps...The towns appear to be standing, not on the earth, but on their own reflections; these gighly respectable streets appear to emerge from from bottomless depths of dreams...Karel Capek, Letters from Holland, 1933.

Yes, I know well the world of poverty and ugliness, but I painted the skin, the glittering surface, the appearance of things: the silky ladies, and gentlemen in irreproachable black. I admired how fiercely the fought for a life slightly longer than the one for which they were destined. They protected themselves with fashion, tailors' accessories, a fancy ruffle, ingenious cuffs...any detail that would allow them to last a little longer before they - and we as well - are engulfed by the black background - S. Herbert, Still Life With a Bridle
Our task is not to solve enigmas, but to be aware of them, to bow our heas before them and also to prepare the eyes for never-ending delight and wonder. If you absolutley require discoveries, hoever, I will tell you that I am proud to have succeeded in combining a certain particularly intensive cobalt with a luminous lemonlike yellow, as well as recording the reflection of southern light that strikes thick glass on to a grey wall...Allows us to continue our archaic procedure, to tell the world words of reconiliation and to speak of joy from recovered harmony, of the eternal desire for reciprocated love. - Letter attributed to Jan Vermeer
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Anche questo, di nuovo, è per Casaba.
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We are eating dinner, my husband and I.
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Book description
A tale of art, beauty, lust, greed, deception and retribution--set in a refined society ablaze with tulip fever. In 1630's Amsterdam, tulipomania has siezed the populace. Ambitions, desires, and dreams breed a grand deception--and as the lies multiply, events move toward a thrillling and tragic climax.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385334923, Paperback)

Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever takes place in 17th-century Amsterdam, where roguish Rembrandt wannabes like Jan van Loos are just waiting to fall into ticklish situations. In this case, a paunchy merchant named Cornelis Sandvoort wanders into the artist's studio, hoping to impress posterity with a portrait of himself and his young wife. Apart from the fat commission, which van Loos can use, there is the bride to consider. Beautiful and bored, Sophia is easily swayed by his youthful passion--but this time, the raffish van Loos actually falls in love with one of his sexual conquests. The two carry out their affair with increasing doses of rashness and deception, meanwhile becoming dependent on the complicity of a servant, the astonishing gullibility of the old man, and the fast cash to be made on the tulip-bulb exchange.

The plot of Moggach's 13th novel neatly matches the speculative frenzy of the period, careening from one improbable thrill to the next. It was, to be sure, a time of stunning economic lunacy, when a single Semper Augustus bulb could be sold for "six fine horses, three oxheads of wine, a dozen sheep, two dozen silver goblets and a seascape by Esaias van de Velde." The author expertly dabs in this sort of period detail, and her chapter epigraphs quote some charming 17th-century Dutch sources on morals and conventional wisdom. Indeed, it's these quasi-surreal touches--whales washing up on the coast, chimney pots toppling into the street, women rubbing goose fat into their hands--that make the lovers' overheated sentiments so plausible. "For centuries to come," the narrator says, "people will gaze at these paintings and wonder what is about to happen." Tulip Fever gives us the chance to do exactly that. --John Ponyicsanyi

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Seventeenth-century Amsterdam, a city in the grip of tulip mania and basking the wealth it has generated. Cornelis, an ageing merchant, commissions a talented young painter to preserve his status and marriage on canvas. At the sittings, as a collector of beautiful things, Cornelis surrounds himself with symbols of his success, including his young wife, Sophia. But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the artist; and as ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception, their reckless gamble propels their lives towards a thrilling and tragic conclusion."- back cover.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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