Girl with A Pearl Earring – by Tracy Chevalier

Posted by Parastou:

This is a story of romance and longing; of a communion of spirit that life’s unfortunate circumstances may be able to stop, but can’t bury.

Johannes Vermeer has remained one of the great enigmas of 17th-century Dutch art – little is known of his personal life. The portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of his biggest mysteries. Why doesn’t she have a name? Who is she? How does she feel? For hundreds of years, we have stared at the painting and asked ourselves these very questions, but it is Chevalier that gives us an intense, unputdownable read of an answer.

This extraordinary portrayal of Vermeer’s life and character is told from the perspective of Griet; the daughter of a tile-maker in 17th century Holland, who is appointed by Vermeer as a maid in his house. He seems drawn to his new employee’s perspective of colour, though neither he nor Griet can guess how deeply the connection will go.

Chevalier’s depiction of Griet is evocative, yet understated. She is naïve, but knows her mind and has an ability to accept her fate with dignity and strength. Her character reminds me of the calm before the storm – an intense silence that promises more drama, love and chaos than any other heroine I’ve ever encountered.

In my opinion, the best aspect of the book is the importance given to the most innocent of gestures, gestures that portray the most sensual and heart-wrenching emotions. I found myself swooning at what I would normally consider to be an irrelevant display of affection: painting a wisp of hair in a picture; a quietly spoken word; even a glance becomes emotive and tortuous.


Read This Book …

Whilst sat opposite the painting at the Mauritshuis Gallery in the Hague. If you’re not going to South Holland any time soon, a poster image will suffice.


This book is a … Be My Read / Travels in Time


Genre: Historical Fiction
Paperback ISBN: 9780007850914
ebook ISBN: 9780007324361


Buy The Book:

*Also available as an audiobook.


If you liked this, then you’ll love …
If you love Chevalier as much as I do, get the 3-book bundle. Otherwise try Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier and My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young