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Girl With a Pearl Earring Paperback – 3 Jul 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (3 July 2006)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0007232160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007232161
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tracy is the author of seven historical novels, including the international bestseller GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, which has sold over 4 million copies and been made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth. American by birth, British by geography, she lives in London with her husband and son and cat. Her most recent novel, THE LAST RUNAWAY, is her first novel to be set in the United States, and she learned how to make quilts for it. Tracy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has honorary doctorates from her alma maters Oberlin College and the University of East Anglia. Her website will tell you more about her and her books.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Sba Francis VINE VOICE on 8 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
I gave this book to my housebound mother at Christmas, and it has been a highly successful gift. Not only does she find the large print refreshingly easy to read, but the story itself is surprisingly gripping. The story of Griet, going as a maid to the house of Vermeer in 1660's Delft, the tale of how she ends up sitting as a model for the artist, and the domestic intrigue rife in the house fascinate the reader. It seems an old fashioned tale, in which no murders or adulteries are committed - which does not mean, of course, that they are not considered! - and the vivid picture of 17th century life in Holland, moving from the backstreet slums of the tile painters streets to the wealthier areas of where the artist lives, are realistic and vivid. I recommend the novel to all, and my mother recommends the large print to those, like her, who find it hard to see, even with glasses.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
This gifted author weaves a mesmerizing tale around Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's most famous painting, creating an incandescent and luminous work of her own. His painting is a simple, though enigmatic, portrait of a girl with a pearl earring, about which little is known. The author, however, a born storyteller, creates a living, breathing story around it, using a singular, first person narrative. Told in spare, elegant prose, the author leaps into literary renown with this book.
The events in the book are viewed through the eyes of Griet, a sixteen year old Dutch girl, whose changed family circumstances force her into taking a position as a maid in the home of a renowned painter, the taciturn Johannes Vermeer. There, the painter resides with his tempestuous wife, Catharina, their brood of unruly children, his commanding and shrewd mother-in-law, Maria Thins, and their loyal housekeeper and cook, Tanneke. The author lovingly details seventeenth century life in the Dutch city of Delft. It is here that Griet's story unfolds.
Sensitive and perceptive, Griet is attuned to the under currents in the Vermeer household and, at first, takes care not to draw attention to herself. Still, she, the daughter of a tile painter, is curious about Vermeer's artistry and is drawn to his work and his methods. Vermeer, sensing a kindred artistic spirit in Griet, draws her into his world of paint, color, light, and beauty, creating an intimacy of the spirit between the two.
Still, Griet, a girl on the brink of becoming a woman, finds herself confused and breathlessly desiring more than she may have. Her longing for more than a communion of the spirit with Vermeer is palpable.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kona TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Feb 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
The audio cassette version of Girl With a Pearl Earring:
The fictional story behind Vermeer's famous painting revolves around sixteen-year old Griet, who becomes a maid in the artist's home to help her struggling family. She is a quiet, intelligent girl, fully aware of her rather helpless situation: She must do the hardest work from morning til night without sympathy or kindness in the cold house. She does, however, greatly admire the elusive Vermeer, and to her shock and secret joy, he asks her one day to be his model for a painting. She must also contend with the unwanted attentions of Vermeer's wealthy patron, and is unsure of her feelings for the amorous young butcher.
Since the uneducated Griet is the story's narrator, author Chevalier has written in a very simple, uncluttered style: There are virtually no compound sentences, few adjectives, and even fewer words describing emotions. This is because Griet's lot in life is to serve; it makes no difference how she feels about people, events, or tasks, so she doesn't dwell on them.
Griet never refers to Vermeer by name; he is always "The Master," or simply "Him." While a bit of an affectation on the part of the author, it reflects Griet's view of him as bigger than life; godlike. She never puts into words her feelings for him, nor does he for her; indeed people at that time kept their thoughts to themselves. We learn little about Vermeer, except that he took scant notice of his homelife, which was rife with conflict between the mistress, servants, and children. The last chapter was the most intense and was indeed a satisfying end to Griet's story.
Narrator Ruth Ann Phimister's voice is low and sounds too mature to be speaking the words of a sixteen-year old. However, she does convey Griet's pluckiness as well as her constant fatigue. While we don't learn about Vermeer, the story does gives us a glimpse into Dutch society in 1665. It is a quiet story.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By RDC on 29 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Author Tracy Chevalier creates a vivid, complete world in 17th-century Delft, Holland, famous for its blue and white pottery and tiles, and home to the painter Johannes Vermeer. The book centers around the subject of one of Vermeer's most enigmatic paintings, and brings to life Griet, the fictional maid-servant of the Vermeer family.
Chevalier describes the household and Griet's life in such vivid detail that one feels one is walking the cobbled streets right next to Griet, and sharing her fears, desires and personal conflicts. Tensions build as we learn how she comes to be the subject of the painting and the denouement is not a disappointment. This novel guides you along a perfect course and the ending is as satisfying as one would hope. Five stars for subject matter, writing style and plot development!
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