Friday, 2 January 2009

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier


Synopsis from Amazon
Griet, the young daughter of a tilemaker in seventeenth century Holland, obtains her first job, as a servant in Vermeer's household. Tracy Chevalier shows us, through Griet's eyes, the complicated family, the society of the small town of Delft, and life with an obsessive genius. Griet loves being drawn into his artistic life, and leaving her former drudgery, but the cost to her own survival may be high.

I've found it difficult to review this book because although I found it easy to read and quite enjoyable, I was left with the feeling something was missing, the mystery and genius in the painting perhaps. The characters didn't seem well developed and really, neither did the storyline. In the synopsis above it mentions life with an obsessive genius - well it was hardly touched upon and Vermeer's character was possibly the least well-drawn. The child Cordelia seemed contrived, and the plague appeared to be thrown in almost as an afterthought.

Saying all that though, I cannot deny enjoying it, I just think it has been hyped up and hasn't lived up to my expectations.  I read it in just a few hours - it is a very short book. And it has definitely made me more interested in Vermeer's art, and in Delft.

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10 comments:

Catherine @ Sharp Words said...

That's just what I felt when I read it - that there was something undefinable missing from it, even though I enjoyed it.
Glad I'm not the only one!

SmallWorld at Home said...

You might enjoy reading Girl in Hyacinth Blue after reading this one. Here is my review:
http://smallworldreads.blogspot.com/2008/10/book-review-girl-in-hyacinth-blue.html

Sheila@PaperbackPlaces said...

@Catherine, I suspect we're in the minority though.

@Small World, thanks for the recommendation. I will look for it, because I thought I had a copy. But I may be thinking of The Virgin Blue which I read a while ago.

prabakaran said...

nice blog....i should surely read this book...after seeing ur post

complicated girl said...

dropped! =D

the book seems interesting..i haven't read this though..i'll check if i can find a copy of this book here in our local bookstores.

tc!

Sheila@PaperbackPlaces said...

Yes, I would recommend giving it a try, both of you!

Youvegotmaille said...

This has been on my shelf for years! Maybe I'll get to reading it after Dune. Thanks for the review :)

PinoyXfat said...

This is such an impressive idea -- blogging about books that have transported you to some other place. I remember when I was a schoolgrader and I began to enjoy reading, the one thing that stuck in my mind after every book was the experience of having visited a far-away place. My world became bigger.

Maria M said...

Great review! I'll be stopping by Amazon next to look for this book.

My Bug Life said...

Familiar book cover photo! Read about learning to photograph by studying the angles and lighting of this painted work on digitalphotographyschool.