Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Girl With A Pearl Earring” as Want to Read:
Girl With A Pearl Earring
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Girl With A Pearl Earring

by
3.87  ·  Rating details ·  578,932 ratings  ·  9,089 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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 17th 2005 by HarperCollins (first published January 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Girl With A Pearl Earring, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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.…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)
Konstantin No, but search the Internet to find some, see what are key themes in the novel, frequently asked questions and try to discuss about that. Or just make…moreNo, but search the Internet to find some, see what are key themes in the novel, frequently asked questions and try to discuss about that. Or just make your own, Tracy Chevalier is not Tolstoy and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" isn't an enigma to read and definitely not hard to understand.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  578,932 ratings  ·  9,089 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Jeffrey Keeten
“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 wealth
...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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Diane
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
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
Luís C.
In the seventeenth century, in Delft, a thriving Dutch city, everything had a pre-established order. Rich and poor, Catholics and Protestants, bosses and servants, everyone knew their place. When Griet went to work at the home of the painter Johannes Vermeeer, she thought she knew his role: doing the housework and taking care of the painter's six children. No one expected, however, that her delicate manners, her insight and her fascination with the master's paintings would draw her inexorably in ...more
Kelly
Jun 19, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-us
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
Helen 2.0
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Katie Lumsden
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Marian
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Lavinia
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-en, fiction, 2012
I don't know if it has to do with my vacation days or the fact that I really, but really enjoyed reading this novel, but is was almost impossible to put it down, even though I'm not a big fan of historical fiction and I've watched the film 2 times already. Speaking of it, I'm sure there were many details left out, it's hard now to tell which, but it was definitely an advantage to put a face on the characters.

My interest in art over the years was quite inconsistent and I started by liking the mod
...more
Jan-Maat
Enjoyable though thoroughly disposable historical novel. Central character is a servant in the house of golden age Dutch painter Jan Vermeer and is used as the model for the painting 'Girl with a pearl earring'. Plainly the story has a niceness to it - the private story behind the public painting, but doesn't have anything more to offer than that.

In a way I think it demonstrates the risks or the problem of historical fiction - which hating a void inserts itself in the lives of the obscure, creat
...more
Chrissie
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished: Excellent writing. Each character was portrayed with depth. I kept thinking that I should quote this line or that, but this was impossible without giving spoilers. You must read the book to get into each of these characters and to submerge yourself into their lives. The book is not only about thes principal characters but also about what motivates an artist to create. Who is an artist? Isn't it someone who simply cannot stop himself from painting, or playing music, or sculpting shapes, ...more
Carol
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chevalier
Love this story, love Vermeer's work. Over 2 years a quiet and obedient maid named Griet goes to live as a servant for Johannes Vermeer and his family. It is hard for Griet not to like this good and obedient protagonist, for she struggles with universal yearnings such as love and an escape from poverty. Her life is a fairly solitary one as she finds herself growing apart from her family while living as an outsider in another's home. The Vermeer family, with the exception of the painter himself, ...more
Duane
My favorite reading genre's are historical fiction, art and art history, and romance; well, this book has all of these elements which made it a treat for me. I have read most of Tracy Chevalier's work so I appreciate her ability to craft a good story. After his death Vermeer and even his paintings fell into obscurity for two centuries, so Chevalier had a free hand to paint the fictional picture of the artist and the story surrounding the painting, The Girl With a Pearl Earring. She did so beauti ...more
Lynn
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a visual little book. The need for Griet to be obedient and silent as a girl, a housemaid, and later as a model, makes visual observation her key feature as the narrator. I did see the movie when it came out....it was slow and beautifully filmed....a perfect interpretation of this novel. I also enjoyed scrutinizing all the Vermeer paintings described in the book.
Cecily
Imagined story of Vermeer's model. Vividly evocative of time and place. Outwardly, little happens in terms of plot, but really everything (and everyone) changes. Captivating, simple, but hidden depths. I'm glad I read it before the film came out - even though the film is good.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Teen Book Club: Is there a plot twist for 'Girl with a pearl earring' ? 1 4 Aug 22, 2019 11:57AM  
The YA Book Club: Is there a plot twist for 'Girl with a pearl earring' ? 1 9 Aug 22, 2019 11:54AM  
A Beautiful Story 27 175 May 17, 2019 07:40AM  
do you also find that... 24 275 Dec 12, 2018 08:17PM  
Play Book Tag: LISTOPIA - Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier - 4 stars 2 20 Mar 22, 2018 11:31AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • White Oleander
  • Anna Karenina
  • Girl in Hyacinth Blue
  • I am Rembrandt's Daughter
  • Speak
  • The Birth of Venus
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  • Artemisia
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
  • Year of Wonders
  • Pope Joan
  • The Last Nude
  • The Bonesetter's Daughter
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy
  • Passion: A Novel of the Romantic Poets
See similar books…
7,242 followers
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.

Educa
...more
“He saw things in a way that others did not, so that a city I had lived in all my life seemed a different place, so that a woman became beautiful with the light on her face.” 181 likes
“You're so calm and quiet, you never say. But there are things inside you. I see them sometimes, hiding in your eyes.” 123 likes
More quotes…