The Lady and the Unicorn
In each, an elegant lady and a unicorn stand or sit on an island of grass surrounded by a rich background of animals and flowers. Little is known about them except that they were woven toward the end of the fifteenth century and bear the...more
I found Lady and the Unicorn even better than Girl with a Pearl Earring. I felt utterly transported to the middle ages and immersed in a very good tale, immaculately told.
As she did with The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier takes a classic work of art and artfully spins a tale inspired by the original which becomes an original itself.
It was specially fascinating living among the Brussels weavers and coming to understand the magnitude of their task. One ...more
While the book provides a really interesting up-close look at the design and weaving processes, I could have done with out the rest of the stor ...more
sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and the sixth, that one is known as Á Mon Seul Désir, for these words are found woven there. In English the ...more
The Brussels section is glorious, with all the weaving details and the particulars of the craft. I'm beyond amazed each time an author takes the hard way and engages in lots of research, such as tapestry techniques in the Middle Ages—setting up looms, threads, colours, dyeing methods and all that jazz—and manages to bring everything together in an enthralling narrative. Also, I'm constantly amazed at how inc ...more
We have the stuck up nobleman who thinks he is all that.
We have the artist who thinks he is god's gift to women. Ugh, what an ass. I wanted to slap him.
The nobleman's stupid daughter, God, what an idiot.
Then we moved on to Brussels to see the tapestry being made. Ok, that family was better. The daughter was better, but still, oh girl.
I think the only sane person was the maid for the rich family. Sure she made mistakes too, but, I understood her.
But the b ...more
All that to say, I've seen the tapestries on which this book is based, and I was really ...more
I didn't enjoy this book as much as The Girl with a Pearl Earring. And certainly Chri ...more
The Lady and the Unicorn
New York: Penguin, 2004
250 pp. $23.95
“The Lady and the Unicorn,” written by Tracy Chevalier, is a historical fiction novel about medieval French tapestries which depict a woman seducing a unicorn. Although not much is known about the tapestries, Tracy Chevalier has written an excellent love story based on the few known facts. Jean Le Viste, a French nobleman, commissions a Parisian painter, Nicolas des Innocents, to create a set of six tapestri ...more
The story takes place in 1490, Paris about a French nobleman who commisions six tapestries to be made, celebrating his rising status in court. He hires Nicolas des Innocents to design them, but Nicolas adds his own twist to the work and ...more
The books mixes the fiction and the history incredibly well so well that I found myself looking up the names to see if they were purely fiction or had actually lived. The main character, aside from the tapestries themselves, Nicolas de Innocents is the painter of the origin ...more
It's lovely that Tracy Chevalier thought of a way to explain the famous unicorn tapestries in Cluny and how they came to be. Her knowledge of the art world in Paris and how everything was commissione ...more
This is my favorite kind of book. One to pick up, savor each word and never want to put down. Chevalier has a rich imagination, basing this historical fiction on an existing series of fine tapestries with questionable (undocumented) history, and telling the story through (nearly) all involved in their creation.
We begin with the painter, Nicolas des Innocents, who conceptualizes the stories and major symbolisms of the work. A womanizer, he's brash and vain, yet his char ...more
Loved it, good light reading. Its been a while since I read this but the birth of this tapestry (I am sure there is a lot of fiction woven in there as well) is fascinating. The characters came to life as did the times. Which I always look for in a good book. So I can certainly recommend this.
I have always admired this tapestry and will surely revisit it with new eyes and wonder.
Unfortunately, I was hugely disappointed. Almost every character in this book is a big jerk. I like complex characters and not every character has to be likable, but when every character is unlikeable ...more
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19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.
Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.