Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of Remarkable Creatures and The Last Runaway


Translated into thirty-nine ...
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Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of Remarkable Creatures and The Last Runaway


Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth




Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.


History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.









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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"A portrait of radiance...Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel." —Time magazine

"A vibrant, sumptuous novel...triumphant...a beautifully written tale that mirrors the elegance of the painting that inspired it." —The Wall Street Journal

"The richest, most rewarding novel I have read this year." —The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Outstanding." —USA Today

"Marvelously evocative." —The New York Times

"Superb...vividly captures the world of 17th century Delft." —The San Francisco Chronicle

"Tracy Chevalier has so vividly imagined the life of the painter and his subject that you say to yourself: This is the way it must have been." —The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A jewel of a novel." —The Miami Herald

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101219478
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 27,642
  • File size: 298 KB

Meet the Author

Tracy Chevalier
"I was born and grew up in Washington, DC. After getting a BA in English from Oberlin College (Ohio), I moved to London, England in 1984. I intended to stay 6 months; I’m still here.

"As a kid I’d often said I wanted to be a writer because I loved books and wanted to be associated with them. I wrote the odd story in high school, but it was only in my twenties that I started writing ‘real’ stories, at night and on weekends. Sometimes I wrote a story in a couple evenings; other times it took me a whole year to complete one.


"Once I took a night class in creative writing, and a story I’d written for it was published in a London-based magazine called Fiction. I was thrilled, even though the magazine folded 4 months later.


I worked as a reference book editor for several years until 1993 when I left my job and did a year-long MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (England). My tutors were the English novelists Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. For the first time in my life I was expected to write every day, and I found I liked it. I also finally had an idea I considered ‘big’ enough to fill a novel. I began The Virgin Blue during that year, and continued it once the course was over, juggling writing with freelance editing.


"An agent is essential to getting published. I found my agent Jonny Geller through dumb luck and good timing. A friend from the MA course had just signed on with him and I sent my manuscript of The Virgin Blue mentioning my friend’s name. Jonny was just starting as an agent and needed me as much as I needed him. Since then he’s become a highly respected agent in the UK and I’ve gone along for the ride."



Tracy Chevalier is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels, including her latest novel is The Last Runaway. Girl with a Pearl Earring has been translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., she lives in London with her husband and son.







Biography

Tracy Chevalier first gained attention by imagining the answer to one of art history's small but intriguing questions: Who is the subject of Johannes Vermeer's painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring"?

It was a bold move on Chevalier's part to build a story around the somewhat mysterious 17th-century Dutch painter and his unassuming but luminous subject; but the author's purist approach helped set the tone. "I decided early on that I wanted [Girl] to be a simple story, simply told, and to imitate with words what Vermeer was doing with paint," Chevalier told her college's alumni magazine. "That may sound unbelievably pretentious, but I didn't mean it as 'I can do Vermeer in words.' I wanted to write it in a way that Vermeer would have painted: very simple lines, simple compositions, not a lot of clutter, and not a lot of superfluous characters."

Chevalier achieved her objective expertly, helped by the fact that she employed the famous Girl as narrator of the story. Sixteen-year-old Griet becomes a maid in Vermeer's tumultuous household, developing an apprentice relationship with the painter while drawing attention from other men and jealousy from women. Praise for the novel poured in: "Chevalier's exploration into the soul of this complex but naïve young woman is moving, and her depiction of 17th-century Delft is marvelously evocative," wrote the New York Times Book Review. The Wall Street Journal called it "vibrant and sumptuous."

Girl with a Pearl Earring was not Chevalier's first exploration of the past. In The Virgin Blue, her U.K.-published first novel (due for a U.S. edition in 2003), her modern-day character Ella Turner goes back to 16th-century France in order to revisit her family history. As a result, she finds parallels between herself and a troubled ancestor -- a woman whose fate had been unknown until Ella discovers it.

With 2001's Falling Angels, Chevalier -- a former reference book editor who began her fiction career by enrolling in the graduate writing program at University of East Anglia -- continued to tell stories of women in the past. But she has been open about the fact that compared to writing Girl with a Pearl Earring, the "nightmare" creating of her third novel was difficult and fraught with complications, even tears. The pressure of her previous success, coupled with a first draft that wasn't working out, made Chevalier want to abandon the effort altogether. Then, reading Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible led Chevalier to change her approach. "[Kingsolver] did such a fantastic job using different voices and I thought, with Falling Angels, I've told it in the wrong way," Chevalier told Bookpage magazine. "I wanted it to have lots of perspective."

With that, Chevalier began a rewrite of her tale about two families in the first decade of 20th-century London. With more than ten narrators (some more prominent than others), Falling Angels has perspective in spades and lots to maintain interest over its relatively brief span: a marriage in trouble, a girlhood friendship born at Highgate Cemetery, a woman's introduction to the suffragette movement. A spirited, fast-paced story, Falling Angels again earned critical praise. "This moving, bittersweet book flaunts Chevalier's gift for creating complex characters and an engaging plot," Book magazine concluded.

Chevalier continues to pursue her fascination with art and history in her fourth novel, on which she is currently at work. According to Oberlin Alumni Magazine, she is basing the book on the Lady and the Unicorn medieval tapestries that hang in Paris's Cluny Museum.

Good To Know

Chevalier's interest in Vermeer extends beyond a fascination with one painting. "I have always loved Vermeer's paintings," Chevalier writes on her Web site. "One of my life goals is to view all thirty-five of them in the flesh. I've seen all but one -- ‘Young Girl Reading a Letter' -- which hangs in Dresden. There is so much mystery in each painting, in the women he depicts, so many stories suggested but not told. I wanted to tell one of them."

Chevalier moved from the States to London in 1984. "I intended to stay six months," she writes. "I'm still here." She lives near Highgate Cemetery with her husband and son.

The film version of Girl with a Pearl Earring is on the 2003 slate from Lions Gate Films, with Scarlett Johansson in the role of Griet and Colin Firth playing Vermeer.

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    1. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 19, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Oberlin College, 1984; M.A. in creative writing, University of East Anglia, 1994
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 431 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(256)

4 Star

(110)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 402 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2008

    Chevalier is a Painter of Words

    I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain having to leave home at such a young age. Women did not have many options during that era, either give in to men or be cast out, which Griet battled with. So many times I thought her and Vermeer would make a love connection, and Chevalier definitely added that romantic stress to the plot. As for the painting, the pearl earring was Vermeer's wife's possession and she was quite the vindictive lady, which unfortunately, Griet had to deal with the wrath of her jealousy.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Girl With A Pearl Earring

    I thought this book was really good it was very easy to read and the story had a great plot. I thought this book was a lot better than the movie. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a great book.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 5, 2009

    History and Fiction Merge

    Wonderful book, simply written, easy to read yet allows the reader to imagine each scene and event. Great plot that explores who could be the subject of Vermeer's painting. This book looks into what a young girl might think and feel back then and easily relates to readers of the present day.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    Excellent novel. It used great imagery and an interesting plot. But I still thought it was missing. There was something preventing it from being extraordinary. Maybe it was the last page, which dissatisfied me.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it

    I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The best way I can describe this book is to think of a dime store romance novel, but take away the romance. You're left with practically nothing. No point. I'm not saying I am disappointed in this book's lack of romance, but I am saying that there could have at least been a point to it if romance was thrown in there. As it is, there's just nothing to it.

    The main character (Greit) lacked any sort of personality. She is one of the most boring and plain characters I've ever read in a novel. She rarely had emotion, and when she did have emotion, it was hard to believe. Almost as if the author tried to randomly throw in character development for the sake of development, rather than allowing the character's personality to naturally appear throughout the story.

    I don't mean to completely dismiss the book. The overall details were interesting, particularly where Greit started and how she got to where she ended. It would have been a great book had the author simply been better at writing and putting together a story. That was no the case though.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely Stunning

    Beautifully written with complex characters and the lovely backdrop of 1600s Holland. Intense, sensual, and saddening at the same time. A MUST READ! :)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    amazing

    The book has such amazing imagery along with a great true story. It is not your typical love story, and this book brings something new to the table that I have not seen in a while.This is one of my favorite books I have read this year.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Really changed me

    This book is so amazing, it changed me. It changed the way I saw life, and the way I acted towards men. In a good way. I love this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    GREAT read!

    i chose this book along with another book for my summer reading. at first i was hesitant bc i had gotten mixed reviews about this book and remembered the movie to a little on the solemn and boring side. i started to read this book though giving it a chance and i am so happy i did. i absolutely loved this book. it is now one of my favorites and i enjoyed it thorughly. it was the perfect blend of history, drama, romance, and intrigue that makes a book fascinating from start to end. even thought it was summer,school related reading i really loved this book and reccommend it to anyone who likes hidden stories behind art and a great read. it took me into another world and into a world i had never read anything about. overall i thought this novel was amazing and the description and narration caught my attention from start to finish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    The Story Behind the Painting

    I was assigned this book for english class, but after reading it I was very surprised. It was a great book that I never put down. Griet, the main character, is forced to work as a maid for the painter Vermeer. This book tells the story of a young girl faced with choices and struggles as she enters adulthood. There is drama, romance, and an acurate description of what life was probably like for a poor girl living in Holland in the 1600s. Its great for anyone who has ever looked at a painting and wondered what kind of story was hidden behind it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Don't even question its greatness

    Are you looking for the perfect novel that is has just the right amount of romance, fact, and fiction, to keep you sucked in from beginning to end? well then look no further, this is the book for you. I was hooked from page one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2007

    simply amazing!

    This book is on the top of my 'read again when im 21' books. This book was simply written, easy to understand, and had a clear plot, with some romance and scandalosity among those things. I recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, action, and historical fiction

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2007

    Simply Captivating!

    I am not usually a big reader but from the moment I opened this book, I could not put it down. I felt as if I was right there reliving the experience on my own. It was remarkable! It really gave me a new prospective of art and made me look at it in a whole new way. It was wonderful and I loved it. I reccomend it to anyone who is looking for a good read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Blech

    Terriible

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Truly Inspiring, painting a vivid picture of the 17-th century!!

    The novel begins in the 1600's in the Dutch city of Delft. Here lives a 16 year-old girl, Griet who leaves her family to work for the famous artist, Vermeer. She is sent out to work because of the lose of her father's eye sight. When Vermeer seeks out Griet, he sees the artistic talent she has by the way she separates her vegetables. As she begins to live with the family Griet is inspired by her creating a painting of her. In this novel the peal earring is significant in the book. However, you will have to read more to find out!! I would choose this book if you love love stories and art history. I chose this book according for my love of art history. I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy it as well!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2011

    Well-written; enjoyed it.

    I enjoyed this book a lot. The plot is unique and Chevalier's words flow flawlessly. Truly a piece of work.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Loved it

    You mean i can only give this a 5 star rating! I read this after i saw the movie and i was so happy to find they did very close to the book. This is a must read. You will not be disappointed. Beautifully written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Paint by Numbers

    Congrats to Tracy Chevalier for this vivid characterization of an artist, his motley family, and his reticent model. Highly Recommended.
    James Conroyd Martin
    Author of Push Not the River
    & Against a Crimson Sky

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Wonderful Read.

    Tastefully done. A read that is difficult to put down. A classical masterpiece.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    Good story

    I like the historical setting of this book. Good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 402 Customer Reviews

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