In 1664, 16-year-old Griet enters the Vermeer household as a servant. Daughter of a Delft tile maker, she has a natural eye for color and design. Daily, she cleans the studio, learning much about how Vermeer sees the people he paints. As his attention focuses on her, she slowly becomes one of his subjects. Tracy Chevalier fills this unusual love story with the shades, sounds, and textures of everyday life in Holland. Narrator Ruth Ann Phimister perfectly voices Griet's growing awareness of the intrigues surrounding her and the need to define the value of her life.
©1999 Tracy Chevalier; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC
"Outstanding." (USA Today)
"This is a completely absorbing story with enough historical authenticity and artistic intuition to mark Chevalier as a talented newcomer to the literary scene." (Publishers Weekly)
"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." (The New York Times)
This is one of my favorite historical novels. I didn't expect some of the twists and turns of the story, and it was a page turner for sure. The characters are very well written and I would read this book again and recommend it to anyone. The story held me spellbound for hours and I listened to it again not too long after the first time. I love the setting and the way Chevalier writes these characters. I really wanted more and more of this book. The narration was so perfect it created a wonderful listening experience.
I had enjoyed "Fallen Angels" so very much and "Virgin Blue" slightly less (but it was still good). I have put off seeing the film of "Girl with a Pearl Earring" until I could finish the book, but now I may never bother. What a bore this book is! About 3/4 of the way through it I recognized it as a poor retelling of "Jane Eyre", but it never deserves to be fully compared to that masterpiece. This 1st person narrative is gentle and plodding, a poor girl brought down in circumstances who must take an honest job. She thinks WAY too highly of herself and her allure; she develops "relationships" in her head which are likely passing thoughts in the minds of the men involved. The narrator does an adequate job but also seems bored. I'm so glad I read the other books first!
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I expect one of two things from historical fiction: enough historical details to help me better understand the time and place, or a good enough story to make it worth writing. This one delivered neither. There was no insight into Vermeer. Neither the real characters nor the imaginary ones had any reality to them. There was no motivation for the emotions and attractions between characters. You would have to project very hard to find any of the things the author obviously wanted readers to find. Fortunately for her, a great many readers were willing to do that work for her. I wasn't one of them.
The reader was good . The story was ok but nothing really stood out. I never wanted to drive around the block hear more. Maybe I'm just an adventure and action type of reader but I didn't feel like this went anywhere and I didnt' quite get the point. Maybe I need to see this picture in person or maybe I need to be dutch or a fan of Vemeer. I dunno...... Its worth a listen if the other choice is Mody Dick I suppose.
I, too, was bored to tears with this story. I listened to all of it -- only because I remember a big fuss being made of it when it first came out. Ho-Hum........so someone made up a story to go with a painting. Maybe to one who knows absolutely nothing about the creative process or who has very little life experience, this might be interesting. I thought it lacked, depth, breadth, plot, character and interest. "Nough said.
This book is written from the perspective of a 17 year old and yet the narrator sounds like she's 90. Terrible narration, however, the story line itself is decently entertaining.
I was interested in this book because I had seen the real painting and other paintings by Vermeer. Unfortunately, I found the story to be a bit slow moving. The historical aspect of the storyline was overshadowed by the psychological narrative of the girl, and the psychological politics of the household. If you're looking for a light brush of Vermeer's work it's interesting, but it's not particularly in-depth historical fiction.
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