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Publisher's Summary

A professor shows a colleague a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer - but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of stories that trace ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in human lives.

Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of the mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts, and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.

©1999 Susan Vreeland; (P)2001 Highbridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Intelligent, searching, and unusual...filled with luminous moments...it has a way of lingering in the reader's mind." (The New York Times Book Review)
"One of the best books of the year." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Sybil
  • Charlottesville, VA, USA
  • 04-07-03

wonderful

Thought that this was very well done and the readers were excellent. Great story very engaging

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

delightful and meaningful

enjoyed it in one sitting. refreshed my appreciation from my younger years discovering this quintessential unique artist..Vermeer
good storytelling by Susan V...juicy but never over the line..facts ..facts about painting and peculiar lifestyle of Zieder Zee. A GOOD Thing





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  • Performance
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nice historical fiction

a nice little historical fiction about the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer and the times in which he lived. the story also followed a single painting through history.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • E
  • California
  • 08-05-17

A tale well told

I enjoyed the detail of the narrative which mirrored the detail of Vermeer' s work with sensitivity. The story unfolded with mystery . I enjoyed the historical descriptions of the Dutch ethos which explains so much of the art as well as the set up of the world we have now. I enjoyed how the subtle strands relating to many facets of love were woven through the story with a light but deep touch. Since I know that very little is actually known about Vermeer' s life, the artistic liberty of historical fiction did not ruin my enjoyment. The insights into the quietude of Vermeer's work were more important and plausible.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

dull

What did you like about this audiobook?

I read the book but found it dull.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

no not at all wish i had skipped it

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

not at all confusing and left hanging in many places

Do you have any additional comments?

i would not recommed

  • Overall

History of a painting

This story could have been much better if just one story had been focused on. I understand completely that this isn't about any of the mini-stories, really... it is about the painting and the people who owned it and their own little sagas surrounding the painting. I felt that the very last story, about the actual girl in the painting, should have somehow been longer or more explicit. Each story wasn't long enough for the reader to get a real grasp of the characters and their lives or to really begin to care about them before being whisked off to another story. The exception was the story of the mother who takes in the baby and painting. If all of the stories had been like this, I would have enjoyed it a great deal more.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • hh
  • pdx United States
  • 04-26-12

You are there

Any additional comments?

This is a terrific book. I usually transfer 3-4 audiobooks to CD yearly for a listen down the road and this made the grade. It is quite simply, enthralling in its ability to communicate feeling, content and style as only a studied pro in the arms of a loving muse could do. I took time off from grad school to learn Dutch and travel through the Lowlands viewing Flemish art. This book is the closest thing I know to any device that can effectively give one the feeling I got during that wonderful period. It captures mood exquisitely. It transports one back in time as great lit should. The pacing, the words chosen, the phrasing -- all of it, subtle, yet powerfully effective. It doesn???t scream ???look how wonderfully I???ve done this,??? but it does. If this is new terrain for you, it may take awhile to ???get there.??? Given that ???there??? doesn???t exist anymore, it is worth the effort at 10x the price.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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NOT FOR KIDS OR YOUNG ADULTS!!!

This book is listed in the Audible kids section, so you can imagine my shock when two of the short stories included very graphic, adult sex scenes, one very short but one that is long and detailed. This is completely inappropriate for kids and for any adult who is not interested in reading or listening to such things (one would assume a children's/young adult novel would be free from such things). I'm extremely disappointed that this author felt it necessary to include such a thing in a book about a painting. I will never read another work by Susan Vreeland. And I'm disappointed that Audible chose to list this in the Audible kids section. I would have hoped that they would choose to use a bit more discretion.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful