Friday, August 5, 2011
Girl With a Pearl Earring
Summary: The unknown subject of a Vermeer masterpiece is the basis for this remarkably evocative novel. The illiterate young Griet, held captive by the strict social order of 17th-century Delft, becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer to help support her family. She knows her role well: tend the laundry, keep up with the housework, and make sure Vermeer's six children stay out of the way. Griet even thinks she can handle Vermeer's shrewd mother-in-law, his bitter, neglected wife, and the family's jealous servant. But what no one suspects is that Griet's quiet manner, uncanny perception, and fascination with her master's paintings will draw her inexorably into the painter's private world. And as Griet witnesses the creative process of a great master, her long-suppressed passion becomes the catalyst for a scandal that irrevocably changes her life.
I found Girl With a Pearl Earring to be an interesting and simply beautiful kind of book. I liked Griet's voice and felt like I got to know her well, but I can't help but wishing the book could have gone differently. It's just too bad that someone with so much obvious artistic talent always had to be the observer and not the creator. Other than that, I liked the dynamics between characters and learning more about Griet's family and the family that she served. It was interesting to see a painting translated into an entire novel - it's such a unique idea! I wonder if it's been done with any other paintings. Have you heard of any?