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GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. [Paperback]

Tracy Chevalier
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (669 customer reviews)

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Book by Chevalier, Tracy

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My mother did not tell me they were coming. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but poorly read July 15 2005
Format:Audio CD
I just finished listening to the novel on CD read by Jenna Lamia. Avoid it. The reader tries to put on accents for every different character and fails horribly. Her accent for Vermeer is most ridiculous of all and it takes away from the novel terribly. The only well created accent is Griet's; that's not a compliment considering the many characters in this excellent novel. Read the book but avoid this particular CD version.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Commerce Not Art July 15 2004
By Robin
Format:Paperback
This book is about the economics of art as a commodity in a historical society in which it was exactly that. The point is that every society sees the art produced in its own time as a commodity, and usually not a very valuable one at that. The 21st century is the same as the 17th in this regard. However, we do not know which of our commodities will be the art form of a future age.Neither did they.
Vermeer painted to live: whether he also lived to paint is the question. Exactly the question the book asks us to think about. His family depend upon him painting and upon patrons buying and commissioning his work. As a result, everyone is paying. And the symbol of all the payments is the pearl earring. Vermeer trades something to get it into the painting, where we think it should be, but then we are unaware of any paintings of the same girl without a pearl earring. His mother in law pays with treachery. His wife pays with suffering. And the girl pays with personal obscurity, and everlasting fame.
And only we benefit.
Makes you think, doesn't it?
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4.0 out of 5 stars sorry, but i really enjoyed it July 11 2004
Format:Paperback
I did like the writting style used. It was clear, simple and it seemed to me as if it was really clean, if that makes any sense. It was an easy, almost straight to the point story that kept me entertained. I think there were some deep metaphors that passed me by though. I liked most of the characters but would have liked it better if they were given some more depth.
However, I can see how some people would not like this book. Not alot really happens and I imagin (though I haven't seen it) that the film version is rather slow and boring. As I read it in a day I dont think I had time to get bored with it. The characters are not particluary memerable and some seem very flat at times. It's supposed to be a book about passion but I didn't feel much between any of the characters. Although Griet may have felt it for her master, until he left her the earrings at the end I don't think I felt anything at all from him though out the whole book, and as a result I didn't care about this character. I don't know anything about the real Vermeer so I have no idea if he acted anything like he did in the story.
Despite it's faults I did really enjoy this book and as long as your someone who can relex and read something that's not packed full of action I think you'll probably enjoy it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites... July 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have just finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Girl with a Pearl Earring. It is narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister. As I listened to the novel, I was very emotionally involved with Griet. I felt her happiness, her sadness, her reluctance, her longings. But one has to remember that a Protestant in her times, especially a young girl, was meant to be reserved and to hold back her deepest desires. I think that is why Tracy Chevalier wrote as she did. The tone also echos the fact that Vermeer is very poor at showing his own emotions.
I loved this book! In fact, it is hard for me right now to go on to another book. I want to stay in Griet's world--I don't want to leave her. I think that is what a good book is supposed to do for a reader. In additon, it made me curious about Vermeer's life. Oh, I knew his paintings, but I wanted more. What was the real Vermeer like? I have searched out his biography and marveled at how Chevalier intertwined fact with fiction.
Perhaps my feelings for this story are because I listened to the audio version of this book. Ms. Phimister is a master at narration and is truly able to place the reader into the character of Griet. In any event, this book will always remain one of my all time favorites!
This review refers to the unabridged audiocassette edition.
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Format:Paperback
In her novel, 'Girl With a Pearl Earring', Tracy Chevalier gives clever voice and life to the enigmatic subject of Johannes Vermeer's incomparable oil painting of the same name. For protestant Griet, just 16 years old and forced into service as a maid due to her family's poverty, the very Catholic household of the famous Delft artist bears little ressemblance to her life as the daughter of a tile painter. Although assailed by mountains of laundry and other monotonous and never-ending kitchen duties, she nevertheless has the acute perception of an artist's daughter to notice the odd dynamics that bind the inhabitants of the household together as deftly as Vermeer's brushwork depicts the light shining on the face of one of his models. "He" as Griet awefully refers to Vermeer, lives only for his painting; his mother-in-law agrees to any of his whims to insure a faster end-product with happier patrons and hence more revenue to keep the household from slipping into financial ruin. His wife, Katerina, desperately wants to be a part of the world Vermeer sees with his painter's eye; she smoulders pettishly when she realizes that Griet is admitted into his world wordlessly as Vermeer recognizes something within Griet that defines her as a kindred spirit.

Chevalier fills the novel with the tasks of an everyday Delft so real, one marvels at the magnificence of her invention. Her simple concentration on Griet's cleanliness; the whitness of her cap, the studied way in which she wears it with the two ties hanging on either side of her face to hide her expression, reminds us of the Biblical maxim "Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read. The Characters were well developed and intertwined ...
A good read. The Characters were well developed and intertwined throughout the story line. The size of their worlds matched the struggles of the minds to fit the era of cultural... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Bonnie
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
I bought this book at a second-hand book sale, as I'd heard of the movie but never knew the author...and what a lovely surprise! Read more
Published on May 31 2012 by Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
This novel tells the story of a young Dutch girl during the 17th century. The 16 year old daughter of a tile painter becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer to help... Read more
Published on July 9 2007 by Toni Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars flows in smooth strokes!
i have never seen the film, so my mind was completely open to the literaries, this book was one of the most pleasant and smoothly worded books i have read for a long time. Read more
Published on July 31 2006 by paula b
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A very good read for a rainy day. The odd thing about this book that I found was that, after you read a book you are supposed to be able to analyze its characters and know them a... Read more
Published on July 9 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Girl with something to say
I don't usually tend to veer too far off the beaten path when it comes to books. Tending to stick with bestsellers like "Life of Pi" or "Bark of the Dogwood" my... Read more
Published on July 28 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Contrived
I didn't like it at all. I was able to finish it but I credit that to an extremely boring day at work. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by T. Nociti
5.0 out of 5 stars Great job intertwining art history and fiction!
I inhaled this book when it reached my hands. I was not very familiar with Vermeer's paintings at the time, but I really enjoyed learning the stories behind the paintings, whether... Read more
Published on July 13 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars evryone who doesnn't like this is messed up!!!
This book is very well written, and combines both fact and fiction. It provides insight into the house of the master painter Johannes Vermeer. Read more
Published on July 9 2004
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