- Audio CD
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Abridged edition edition (20 Jan. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007154755
- ISBN-13: 978-0007154753
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.4 x 12.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 363,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Girl With a Pearl Earring Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD
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The Dutch painter Vermeer has remained one of the great enigmas of 17th-century Dutch art. While little is known of his personal life, his extraordinary paintings of natural and domestic life, with their subtle play of light and colour, have come to define the Dutch Golden Age. The mysterious portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has fascinated art historians for centuries, and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centres on Vermeer's prosperous household in Delft in the 1660s. The appointment of the quiet, perceptive heroine of the novel, the servant Griet, gradually throws the household into turmoil as Vermeer and Griet become increasingly intimate, an increasingly tense situation that culminates in her working for Vermeer as his assistant, and ultimately sitting for him as a model. Chevalier deliberately cultivates a limpid, painstakingly observed style in homage to Vermeer, and the complex domestic tensions of the Vermeer household are vividly evoked, from the jealous, vain, young wife to the wise, taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic, but Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist in its tail. Chevalier acknowledges her debt to Simon Schama's classic study of the Dutch Golden Age, The Embarrassment of Riches, and the novel comes hard on the heels of Deborah Moggach's similar tale of domestic intrigue behind the easel of 17th-century Dutch painting, Tulip Fever.
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a fascinating piece of speculative historical fiction, but how much more can novelists extract from the Dutch Golden Age? --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Beautifully written, mysterious and almost
unbearably poignant – a magical experience.’ Deborah Moggach
‘A jewel of a novel.’ Time
'Chevalier's book is a delight' Simon Jenkins, Guardian--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Although strong in both mind and body, Griet comes from a poverty-stricken family. Her father, once a skilled painter of Delft tiles, has been blinded in a kiln explosion. It is the shy and naive Griet who seeks to provide the wages needed for the family's survival. In the Vermeer household, Griet must cope with seemingly endless loads of laundry and meals, five small children and Vermeer's continually-pregnant wife, Catharina. It is her artist's eye, however, that sets her apart from the other servants, for Griet can clean the master's studio without having seemed to have touched a thing.
This book is woven around one of Vermeer's most famous paintings, The Girl With a Pearl Earring. It is a painting that is different from the religious scenes and those of daily life in Delft, so typical of Vermeer. The story is told from the point-of-view of Griet, the eventual model for the painting, rather than Vermeer, and it is filled with a young and fresh look at the daily details of life in 1660s Delft. We learn of the canals and the markets as well as the creation of Vermeer's masterpieces.
Griet's story is a complex one as she struggles to make a real place for herself in the Vermeer household.Read more ›
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!
This is when the story takes flight, as Griet comes to terms with working for a Catholic family, herself being protestant, and the strange life her master leads. Her master turns out to be the painter Vermeer, and Griet is drawn into his work in a way that could cost her her job.
Meanwhile there is also the growing romance between her and the butchers' son, which adds another lead for the story to take.
Chevalier paints a vivid picture of what life was like for people like Griet in Holland, although Griet's story is in no way ordinary.
This book is like nothing I have ever read before, and it is so un-put-downable that I read it in a day solidly. It lingers with you for days afterwards, and makes you wish it hadn't ended.
I would recommend this book as strongly as I can. Worth every second you take to read it.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great to listen to on a long journey when there is only rubbish on the radio. Have seen the film which was excellent.
Very well read. This is the abridged version. Read more
Girl With a Pearl Earring is such a beautifully written book with a compelling story. I find the story about young Griet working for Johannes Vermeer fascinating. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marablaise
You will want more from this book you will wait and wait and feel the build for something to happen between her and Vermeer and you will be let down. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nikkimk
I haven't finished, but so far I have found it very captivating.Published 4 months ago by Nancy Zeigler
A lovely read and so interesting especially having recently visited Amsterdam.Published 5 months ago by sharon hinchey