Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Authors and Artists: Chevalier and Vermeer

I bought Chevalier's book last year, The Girl With the Pearl Earring, mainly because I was intrigued by the painting on the cover. I had heard of the movie, but hadn't seen it. I'm one of those people who prefer to read the book before I see the movie. Always, always prefer books to movies. Exception being Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. I really did try to read Tolkien. Have you ever read Tolkien? I made it about 1200 pages into the... prologue... and was utterly lost. Lots and lots and lots of middle earth history. Ok, I'm becoming tangential, but looking forward to 2010 release of The Hobbit, which was my favourite read aloud from my school days.
So, back to Tracy Chevalier's novel. A new author and a completely different book choice. I typically am a sucker for big sweeping historical epics or lengthy sagas (think Gone with the Wind, Princes of Ireland, Pillars of the Earth, etc). But this novel really spoke to me. The story is about a young maid in the 17th century who becomes the model in Vermeer's famous painting. Chevalier's writing style is sparsely simple, yet so fluid that the quietly paced text draws you in while she brings her characters, even those less central, to life, flaws and all. Although this is a "mellow" novel, it was a great read. I still haven't seen the movie, not so sure I need to. But, I'm definitely going to put more Chevalier titles on my wishlist.


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