Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Goodread's Synopsis: 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 portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries--and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model.

Literally the first book on my Goodread's TBR list so it was about time I got around to this book. It is so small -like 248 pages- so no clue why it took me so long. Found my copy (not the one pictured, mine is nicer) in a bargain bin in the Works for £1 absolutely ages ago. It follows Griet, a 16 year old who gets sent by her family to work for the Vermeer family because they do not have any money left, but whilst she is there she becomes immersed in the world of Dutch art during the period. Did not like it as much as I would like though. 

Griet as a character was relatively bland. She knew how to was sheets and had a pretty face so therefore had three suitors, being matched mostly with the one she literally could not have cared less about. It would have been more exhilariating should she have actually been torn between two men, but she just wanted one that always seemed devoted to his wife whilst just dealing with the other one. Her loyalties seemed to shift from her family to the Vermeer's pretty quickly, which I do not understand since barely any of them liked her. She was just a dull character that couldn't decide if she was smart or not. 

The writing style was decent. There were some really nice passages regarding Vermeer as an artist and his process of creating his most famous pieces. In some parts though it seemed she was just adding words in to try and up the word count. It was like that essay writing reaction scene in Emporer's New Groove where Kronk makes sure we know the poison is for Kuzco. Chevaliar seemed to write like 'I put the paint in the pot for the painting for when he painted the painting of me. The painting.'

It was also very domestic as well, mostly focusing on household chores that Griet would have attended to and the lifestyle of the different classes in this society, which was quite interesting but at other times a bit draining. 

The discussion of masters and servants was also really interesting as well. 

Overall I think it would have been more interesting if she had been having a passionate affair with the artist rather than the one unpleasant sex scene we do get. Griet is one classy bird. It was well written and I can sort of see why it is considered a modern classic, but personally I could not care enough to rate it any higher.


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