A Piece of the World

A Novel
Narrated by: Polly Stone
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (1,228 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of the smash best seller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth's mysterious and iconic painting Christina's World.

"Later he told me that he'd been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn't like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won't stay hidden."

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family's remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than 20 years, she was host to and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the 20th century.

As she did in her beloved smash best seller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America's history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

©2017 Christina Baker Kline (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Kline paints a Christina just as evocative and memorable as Wyeth's. Stone does the best possible thing in her performance; she becomes invisible, letting this remarkably imagined Christina live and shine." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wyeth's Vision Comes to Life

I've admired A Wyeth's work since I can remember. Often, I have gazed on "Christina's World" and been drawn into the house upon the hill, but inside I can't make out anything in the shadows.

This novel, although partially fictitious, has cleared some of the shadows, and my mind's eye can make out faint glimpses of what Christina in this painting might be seeing. The painting has always left me with the feeling that she sees much more than what is readily apparent in the image.

This book is well written, the story impeccably and intricately woven scenes that connect the past to the future, connect one life to another, connect Christina Olsen to Andrew Wyeth.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting backstory of Christina's World

I always find Christina Baker Kline's stories well researched and they make me want to know more after finishing the novel. This is another success. I enjoyed the travel back and forth through time as you learned more about the subject of Andrew Wyeth's most famous painting. Her story, while fictionalized so well in this novel, was tragic because of the mobility issues she endured. But you do not pity the character, despite her infirmity and the circumstances of her life. She is portrayed as proud, almost to the point of it being a flaw in her character. Learning about the circumstances that molded her placed the reader into Christina's world, living it with her. The only fault I had with the Audible version was the very flat affect of the narrator. Polly Stone may have been trying to achieve a Maine dialect, but I found the lack of inflection in the style very distracting. I almost stopped listening to the book because I there were times I just could not stand the narration. I hate that the narration distracted from this very good novel.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautifully nostalgic

I was completely mesmerized listening to this creative story told by a talented narrator. Being actively involved in researching my ancestry I felt like his could have been the story of one of my relatives born in the same area and time as this charming character portrayed in Andrew Wyeth's painting. I honestly don't think I can look at a painting again without imagining it's rich back-story . Sigh.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It took me a couple of hours to get into the story

...and I almost quit listening because I found the main character so flat--both from the outside and her inner thoughts, which seem devoid of any emotion for the first couple of hours.

Gradually, the main characters in the novel seem to become much better developed and Christina finally has emotion and depth. And the story, which had not interested me before, began to interest me. Though, frankly, I really didn't care about the Wyeth part of the story and would have liked to.

Ten years ago I probably would have really liked this novel, but the story is rather sad. Nothing very good or positive happens to the characters. In the end, it is a story of perseverance, however, which was enough for "3 stars--I liked it."

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

Loved it. I listened to it while on a road trip. it was awesome. my travel time was insignificant. The story was captivating.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful book

I have always been fascinated by this painting. My Mother told me about it and I found an article about Christina in Readers Digest. This book I know was both fact and fiction, but it was not that far from the truth. It is on the wall in my living room. Something so special about it that really touched me. A lot of people find it disturbing, but life isn't a great place for everyone. A good read!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely Wonderful!

I listened for hours on end. Thank you Christina Baker kline, for painting a picture as did Andy.

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

How did this book end up on the best seller list?

This book was awful, I couldn't relate to any of the characters. The protagonist is this miserable bitter old cat lady who gave up on life long ago and seems to want everyone else to be as lonely and as miserable as she is. If you took out all of the "noontime meal" and "Al packing his pipe" descriptions this book would have been 100 pages shorter. Truly awful book, waste of time reading it. Don't bother if you haven't read it yet. Very disappointed

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

By the end it was tedious

I found Christina to be stubborn willful selfpitying and selfish especially in regard to expectations from her brother Alvaro. That's how I came to see her character.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A piece of my world

This book was boring and not like her other books . Very disappointing . I would not recommend this book to anyone.

6 people found this helpful