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December 11, 2011

Book Review || Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

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I'll admit that my first introduction to Girl With a Pearl Earring was through the movie based on the book starring Scarlet Johanssen. But the movie has nothing on the book.

Delft in the 1600s is described through the eyes of Griet, who is a tilemaker's daughter. She is forced to leave home and work for a wealthier family as a maid after her father loses his sight, and so his job as the family's breadwinner, during an accident at the tile factory. Her new life is tough, but revolves around her attraction to her new master, the artist Vermeer.

The novel is intense, and the descriptions are also rich, textured, and colourful - so much more so than the film. Chevalier's style is addictive - I usually fall asleep reading a book at night, unless it's really good, and I completed it without falling asleep (yay!)

Griet is also a compelling character - she is torn between the Griet who wears a cap to cover all her hair, and the Griet who is desperate to let herself go as wild as hair is.

I also think I liked this novel so much because of the allusions to paint and art. As an amateur painter, it would have been wonderful to be able to mix my paints myself. The descriptions of all the artwork are also beautiful. :)

The only thing that annoyed me? That I pictured Scarlet Johanssen as the character instead of the real girl in the portrait! :( Doh!

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