Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: Girl With a Pearl Earring

Nearly a month ago OneHM loaned me a copy of her book Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. If you are not familiar with this 1999 fictional retelling of how the famous painting (by the same name) by Dutch artist Vermeer came about, you may be familiar with the movie made of it in 2003 (watch it on YouTube here: part 1-- please note that it is rated PG-13). With my love for art I found this book to be very interesting; the artist does a fantastic job telling a believable story of how the painting came about. Chevalier's use of Dutch culture, religion, paint, and food as symbols is thought provoking. Of course, I loved the book more than I liked the movie (isn't that always the case?).

Summary of the book (from the above linked author's website):

Girl With a Pearl Earring tells the story of Griet, a 16-year- old Dutch girl who becomes a maid in the house of the painter Johannes Vermeer. Her calm and perceptive manner not only helps her in her household duties, but also attracts the painter's attention. Though different in upbringing, education and social standing, they have a similar way of looking at things. Vermeer slowly draws her into the world of his paintings -- the still, lumionous images of solitary women in domestic settings.

In contrast to her work in her master's studio, Griet must carve a place for herself in a chaotic Catholic household run by Vermeer's volatile wife Catharina, his shrewd mother-in-law Maria Thins, and their fiercly loyal maid Tanneke. Six children (and counting), fill out the household, dominated by six-year-old Cornelia, a mischevious girl who sees more than she should.

On the verge of womanhood, Griet also contends with growing attentions both from a local butcher and from Vermeer's patron, the wealthy van Ruijven. And she has to find her way through this new and strange life outside the loving Protestant family she grew up in, now fragmented by accident and death.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 24:8

1 comment:

  1. I always love your book reviews. I am currently reading My Fair Godmother. I love it!! I just love the way she writes. I makes me laugh how she describes things.


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