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Girl with a Pearl Earring

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  654,410 ratings  ·  10,257 reviews
With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrai ...more
Paperback, Deluxe Edition, 233 pages
Published 2005 by Plume/Penguin (first published 1999)
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Ann Otto I read the book and saw the film. Both were good, but the film had extraordinary sets and got the lighting and feel of the time period beautifully. De…moreI read the book and saw the film. Both were good, but the film had extraordinary sets and got the lighting and feel of the time period beautifully. Definitely a worth see. (less)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  654,410 ratings  ·  10,257 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I heard voices outside our front door - a woman's, bright as polished brass, and a man's, low and dark like the wood of the table I was working on. They were the kind of voices we heard rarely in our house. I could hear rich carpets in their voices, books and pearls and fur.”

 photo Girl20With20the20Pearl20Earring_zpsmfguurj3.jpg
The Girl With the Pearl Earring

When the Vermeers came to visit Griet’s home she had no idea they were there for her. Her parents had decided, given their near destitution, to find Griet a position as a maid with a weal
...more
Daniel
Jul 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of my wife's recommendations (I read a lot of books that way), I picked it up from the bookshelf the night we came back from seeing the film with Scarlett Johansonn and Colin Firth. I loved the movie--it was just so incredibly sumptuous--and was curious to know the story in the novel, which I knew from experience, and from my wife's continuous comments, would be different, more detailed. I was right.

Chevalier has won a place in my heart and bookshelf. Her novels are well-crafted, sim
...more
Kate
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I know almost nothing about art, but even I can tell that Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer is a brilliant painting; 'captivating' is probably the best word to describe it. One presumes that Chevalier agrees with me, and this is what lead her to write a novel about the painting, its subject and its creator. So, is the novel as captivating as the piece that inspired it?

The short answer would be 'no'.

Now for the longer answer...

Chevalier is probably one of the best-known historical nov
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 1999 historical novel written by Tracy Chevalier. Set in 17th century Delft, Holland, the novel was inspired by Delft school painter Johannes Vermeer's painting Girl with a Pearl Earring. Chevalier presents a fictional account of Vermeer, the model, and the painting. The novel was adapted into a 2003 film of the same name and a 2008 play.

Sixteen-year-old Griet lives with her family in Delft in 1664. Her father has been rec
...more
Barry Pierce
I approached this novel trepidatiously. How could I ever suspend my disbelief with this work? How could I ever believe such a ridiculous tale about Vermeer and one of his most revered paintings? I must admit that I opened this novel expecting to utterly detest the lies it weaves. By page two I realised that I was an idiot who should never be listened to.

Griet is hired as a maid to the Vermeer family in Delft. This novel supposes that Griet the maid was the sitter for Vermeer's great work Girl w
...more
Neale
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reread. 4.5 Stars!

Griet had not been told that she is to become the painter Vermeer’s maid, her mother only revealing the job to her after the Vermeer’s had already been, inspected Griet, and left. Griet has no say in the matter. Her father was a tile painter before a tragic accident, in which a kiln explosion claimed his eyes and trade. The family who were already struggling, treading water, now find themselves slowly slipping beneath the surface.

Her father explains to Griet that she is to be
...more
Ivana - Diary of Difference
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I have read this book so many times. And even after re-reading this book so many times, it is and will always remain one of my favourite books, a story that is evergreen and has such an emotional story worth retelling.

Tracy Chevalier has been inspired by the artwork of Johannes Vermeer, and his most famous painting, the Girl with a Pearl Earring, that she decided to write a story of what she believes might have happened behind that painting. F
...more
Madeleine
So the parts when Vermeer was actually being a painter were interesting. Seeing as I slogged through this on account of a recommendation that arose from an art-class lecture on Vermeer, I was hoping that the art stuff would at least deliver.

But it's not a good sign when a book's most compelling moments revolve around two people grinding pigments. And, no: "Grinding pigments" is not a euphemism for artist-bangin'. It is, quite literally, referring to the detailed descriptions of how paint was ma
...more
Jason Koivu
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I CAN'T SHOUT "MEH!" LOUD ENOUGH!!!

The popular fame obtained by this book and its subsequent movie version starring Scarlett Johansson...

*two hours later*

(Sorry, I was daydreaming)...had me expecting a tumultuous romance, a grab-ya and hold-ya reading experience. But this...I don't know what this was, but it wasn't exciting in the least.

Girl With a Pearl Earring is about a maid, who becomes a model, who gets her picture painted and attracts the notice of a few men. The painter is famous, so tha
...more
ij
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Tracy Chevalier

Plume, 2001

The “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is a painting done by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, around 1665. Not much is known about Vermeer which gives Chevalier creative license to develop what I believe is an interesting story. The painting is currently on exhibition in New York, at the Frick Collection. The exhibition is scheduled to be there until January 19, 2014.

The story told in first person by Griet the protagonist starts in Delft (South Holland)
...more
da AL
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, literary
Beautifully written and read aloud, this is an imagining of the possible life of the girl depicted in Vermeer's lovely painting. ...more
Terrie Robinson
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who love Historical Fiction.
Recommended to Terrie by: No one.
"Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier was an interesting historical fiction concept!

It was extremely cleverly how the author created Griet as the protagonist, maid and model for the famous painting 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. No one knows who the models were for any of Vermeer's paintings. So, I applaud this author's imaginative use of creating a story around the Master Painter's exquisite painting.

Forced by her parents to become a maid to the Vermeer household, Griet is saddened to le
...more
Amalia Gkavea
“You're so calm and quiet, you never say. But there are things inside you. I see them sometimes, hiding in your eyes.”

“There followed a time when everything was dull. The things that had meant something lost importance, though they were still there, like bruises on the body that fade to hard lumps under the skin.”
...more
Luís
Vermeer's famous painting, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, is an opportunity for Tracy Chevalier to imagine a special relationship between the painter and Griet, a young and pretty servant committed to the family's service. Proximity could make one think that the young servant served as a model for the painter for the painting, arousing Vermeer's wife's jealousy and causing a scandal in the Delft of the 17th century.

If the universe of the painter and the Dutch society of his time well captured, d
...more
Vanessa J.
Have you ever seen the painting Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer? No? Then, have a look at it:



Isn't it beautiful?

I hadn't seen it until a few months ago, in a class I was taking at the university called “film appreciation”. My professor wanted to show us the movie that goes by the name of this painting because he wanted to illustrate some concepts present in the movie and many other things. Well, at the end of the movie, in the credits (yes, I read the credits; besides, the music wa
...more
Diane
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a pleasant diversion. This novel about a pretty maid who appeared in one of Vermeer's paintings is easy to slip into, didn't ask much of me, and kept me entertained for a few days.

Is it great literature? No. Was it turned into a decent movie? Yes. Would I recommend the book? Depends. The plot skips along well enough, and I enjoyed how the author invented stories for some of Vermeer's famous paintings. My copy was a deluxe edition that included pictures of his artwork, which I appreciat
...more
Richard (on hiatus)
An evocative look at life in Delft, Holland in the 1600’s. A quietly gripping tale of what might have been.
The story is a fictionalised account of the circumstances surrounding the painting of Vermeer’s masterpiece ‘Girl with a pearl earring’.
Griet, the central character, is a strong, honourable, modest and likeable character and the events that overtake her, because of the sensibilities of the age, are tense and exciting. The writing is smooth, exact and fluent.
I would often flick to the cove
...more
Kelly
Jun 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: art history geeks
I wrote a paper on artistic expression using Girl with a Pearl Earring as a source, since it is a painting, a movie, and a book. It provided me fascinating fodder, a really good read, and a good grade on my paper. This is a wonderful study in repression and tiny details. There are some beautiful passages. I absolutely love the study done of the character of Vermeer. At one point, a character tells Griet (the imagined Girl with a Pearl Earring) to be careful, since Vermeer does not see her, but r ...more
Shirin Tondkar
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
My birthday gift from a friend, rare happened because very tricky to buy a book for someone else, but I know why she did. GIRL WITH PEARL EARRING is a beautiful story, engaging, well-drawn characters, art and historically interesting.
The story is about one painting, a young girl who forces to works as a maid in Johannes Vermeer's house (1632-1675), a Dutch painter. I think this book is more than a love story, the only reason I give 4.5 is the end of it, but it is not disappointing after all. My
...more
Anna
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book features one of my favorite book heroines of all time. Griet is competent, intelligent and observant. She possesses the laudable ability to maneuver 17th century Delft in a shrewd and practical manner while still retaining her love of art; finding beauty in even mundane things.

Griet has a first-rate mind, concealed in the body of - essentially - a peasant. This poor maid is the only person who truly understands Vermeer's work. The relationship she develops with the painter is satisfyin
...more
Helen 2.0
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, read-16, watch
Girl With a Pearl Earring tells a short story using a lot of words. Even though the novel spans more than a decade, not too much of note happens besides Vermeer's painting. The book is more like an historical account of an ordinary life with occasional excitement sprinkled in.
I got a little bored at times. I thought Tracy Chevalier spent too much time describing commonplace objects and scenes (washing clothes, dusting, shopping) and not enough time giving insight on Griet's character and the hou
...more
Natasha!
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
I've been hearing good things about this book for years. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, everyone I know?? I found the prose artificially concise (as if she had purposely limited her vocabulary by a factor of ten, or as if the narrator was Dutch but just learning English), the characters completely flat and unbelievable, and the rise in drama both ill-explained and uninteresting. I did not like or feel compassionate toward a single character, I didn't feel any catharsis about ANYTHING, and I understood na ...more
Pink
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this. I don't say that often enough about a book. I was impressed with the writing, completely invested in the story and pleased with the ending. It's not easy to tick all those boxes, especially in a relatively short story. What more can I say. ...more
Katie Lumsden
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An utter joy to read. Really engaging, historically interesting, with strong characterisation and beautiful writing. I will definitely be picking up more by her!
Kandice
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is gorgeously written. I love that Chevalier makes up all these lives to give a back story to just this one painting. Well, that's not true. We actually see the painting of three or four of Vermeer's 35 through Griet's eyes. I know that I had to constantly pull up images of his paintings as I read to actually see what Griet was describing. I must also say that I have never been much of a Vermeer fan, but having read about Vermeer through Griet's eyes, I see his paintings as much more c ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Story of a girl who goes to work as a maid in the Vermeer household. She is entranced with his paintings and also with his "mystique". His wife is jealous of Greit's beautify immediately. Vermeer's patron, a sleazy, domineering man, eventually orders Vermeer to paint a picture of Greit for himself.

The portrait is done. Greit enjoys sitting for her Master and also assisting him with mixing paints, etc. She begins to feel affection for him and thinks he feels the same.

There is also a "butcher's" s
...more
Janelle
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, library
Strange that I have never read this before, nor have I seen the film. I don’t know much about Vermeer but as I was reading this I kept looking at the paintings online as they were described. I loved the detail about the lighting,techniques, the colours , how the colours were made.
Griet, a teenage maid becomes the model for his most famous painting . Told from her point of view , the hard work of the maids in a household is told in detail. Sounds boring but I was engrossed, as her fascination wi
...more
Vanessa
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I slowed my pace. Years of hauling water, wringing out clothes, scrubbing floors, emptying chamberpots, with no chance of beauty or color or light in my life, stretched before me like a landscape of flat land where, a long way off, the sea is visible but can never be reached. If I could not work with the colors, if I could not be near him, I did not know how I could continue to work in that house.

Poor Griet just wants to anchor herself in the orbit of Vermeer and his otherworldly (but also beaut
...more
Crystal Starr Light
Gorgeous painting, deeper appreciation of art; mediocre, annoying book

This is a book that fictionalizes what might have been behind the famous Vermeer painting, "Girl with a Pearl Earring". Griet's family is destitute, and now she must work as a maid in the Vermeer household, cleaning up the famous painter's workstation. Slowly, she grows more interested in her master, and her master in her.

I am not what you would call an artsy person. I make an effort to decorate my home nicely, I can pick out
...more
Marian
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. The story is subtle making it the perfect example that less is more in a story.

Some of my thoughts as I read:
1. The society of the time classified everyone as a "have" or a "have not". For a girl who was in between it was a matter of time before she was forced to one side or the other. She never fit in either world.
2. Clearly this girl had a raw, undeveloped talent for art. Had she lived in a different century would she have been the artist instead of the muse? Her role w
...more
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Born:
19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Childhood:
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.

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