A NOVEL BY TRACY CHEVALIER
I finished this book recently and I sit pleased to say—‘what a wonderful read it has been’.
Wish I could write something so real and fiction. This is my first tryst with Historical fiction and I am in love. It’s an excellent book set in the period 1664-1676, and keeps one totally engrossed from start to finish.
The story is sweet, (grey at times) simple and beautiful and I was touched with the flow of it. The young girl, Griet has to take up a job as a house maid at the city’s renowned painter, Johannes Vermeer’s house. She starts with her work soon and gradually takes up laundry, cleaning, helping in the kitchen, running market errands and looking after the trail of children in the family. But this is not the end of her tasks because she is hired to look after the painter’s art room.
She soon develops an affinity to his tools, easel, colors and his art work preferring to spend most of her time helping him as ordered. But as she loves getting involved with his masters’s paintings she cannot keep herself save from other tasks. Regular fetching of the meat from one of the shops also brings in love and attraction for her when the Butcher’s son proposes her. Griet’s family accepts it happily to dispel their poverty times.
As the story flows we see that she adapts with the circumstances unconditionally. She knows her father is blind and her mother is sad because they have lost their younger daughter. Her brother does not want to grow as a tile maker as his father as he dreams big and leaves to explore the unknown. She sees that the Butcher’s son fulfills all their dreams and brings happiness to the family.
But the twist to the tale grows edgy when she starts enjoying the painter’s closeness. She dreams of Vermeer. She secretly agrees to get painted due to one of his rich customers’ demand. Rumors make there way to the market but she remains sober and unperturbed. The other women in the house see it all going and then questions arise. The tension grows and the intimacy of the painter and Griet meets an abrupt end when Griet has to leave the house forever. She takes a wise decision and settles down in her life with the right person.
The pearl earring has a special significance to play. They belonged to the painter’s wife Catharina, but the painter asks Griet to wear them for the painting and finally makes sure they reach her through his final call, his will.
I must appreciate Vermeer’s paintings because one develops a liking towards them as they are described so well by Griet. One can actually paint them through imagination. A beautiful tale makes a great book. Must read for sure!!!
Read all my Book Reviews Here
- Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665), by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) (musiqdragonfly.wordpress.com)
- Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (hercircleezine.com)
- Vermeer: The first Photographer? (lucentdesign.wordpress.com)
- 10 books inspired by paintings (ted.com)
- The girl with the pearl 2007 (oawritingspoemspaintings.wordpress.com)
- Vermeer, Changing of the guard – Rome, Italy (travelpod.com)