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.