OVER FIVE MILLION COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE
‘A phenomenon’ Jessie Burton
‘Dazzling’ Daily Mail
‘Truly magical' Guardian
Those eyes are fixed on someone. But who? What is she thinking as she stares out from one of the world’s best-loved paintings?
Johannes Vermeer can spot exceptional beauty. When servant girl Griet catches his eye, she soon becomes both student and muse. But then he gives her his wife’s pearl earrings to wear for a portrait, and a scandal erupts that could threaten Griet’s future…
Vivid and captivating, this timeless modern classic has become a successful film and an international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold around the world; now with a new introduction by the author.
‘A veritable work of art… one of those rare novels where all the decisions made by the author appear inevitable and right’ Rose Tremain
‘Timeless, delicate and as exquisitely measured as one of Vermeer's paintings. Tense yet perfectly-paced and filled with the beauty of life's colours, Girl with the Pearl Earring is a masterpiece in its own right. Just a phenomenon. I will hold this novel close for the rest of my life’ Jessie Burton, author of The Minaturist
‘If ever a novel rightly deserves its “five millions copies sold” achievement, it is this dazzling little masterpiece … Absolute magic’ Daily Mail
'A portrait of radiance…Tracy Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel' Time
‘Chevalier doesn't put a foot wrong in this triumphant work … It is a beautifully written tale that mirrors the elegance of the painting that inspired it’ Wall Street Journal
'A wonderful novel, mysterious, steeped in atmosphere, deeply revealing about the process of painting…truly magical' Guardian
‘It is no wonder that this beautifully-written story has sold more than five million copies and been made into a successful film. An absolute triumph’ Woman’s Weekly
'Chevalier's writing skill and her knowledge of seventeenth-century Delft are such that she creates a world reminiscent of a Vermeer interior: suspended in a particular moment, it transcends its time and place' New Yorker
'Chevalier's book is a delight' Simon Jenkins, Guardian
'This is a wonderful novel, mysterious, steeped in atmosphere. It is deeply revealing about the process of painting…a truly magical experience.' Guardian
'This is a novel which deserves, and I am sure will win, a prize – or two.' Times
'A portrait of radiance…Tracy Chevalier brings the real artist Vermeer and a fictional muse to life in a jewel of a novel.' Time
'It has a slow, magical current of its own that picks you up and carries you stealthily along…a beautiful story, lovingly told by a very talented writer.' Daily Mail
'Life in 17th century Delft is evoked with a sharp eye for historical detail and the descriptions of Vermeer at work are superbly drawn. A sensuous and vividly crafted work of fiction from a highly talented young novelist.' Mail on Sunday
‘This sensually luminous novel brings Vermeer and his art to life through bold sumptuous prose.’
Historical Novels Review
The scant confirmed facts about the life of Vermeer, and the relative paucity of his masterworks, continues to be provoke to the literary imagination, as witnessed by this third fine fictional work on the Dutch artist in the space of 13 months. Not as erotic or as deviously suspenseful as Katharine Weber's The Music Lesson, or as original in conception as Susan Vreeland's interlinked short stories, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Chevalier's first novel succeeds on its own merits. Through the eyes of its protagonist, the modest daughter of a tile maker who in 1664 is forced to work as a maid in the Vermeer household because her father has gone blind, Chevalier presents a marvelously textured picture of 17th-century Delft. The physical appearance of the city is clearly delineated, as is its rigidly defined class system, the grinding poverty of the working people and the prejudice against Catholics among the Protestant majority. From the very first, 16-year-old narrator Griet establishes herself as a keen observer who sees the world in sensuous images, expressed in precise and luminous prose. Through her vision, the personalities of coolly distant Vermeer, his emotionally volatile wife, Catharina, his sharp-eyed and benevolently powerful mother-in-law, Maria Thins, and his increasing brood of children are traced with subtle shading, and the strains and jealousies within the household potently conveyed. With equal skill, Chevalier describes the components of a painting: how colors are mixed from apothecary materials, how the composition of a work is achieved with painstaking care. She also excels in conveying the inflexible class system, making it clear that to members of the wealthy elite, every member of the servant class is expendable. Griet is almost ruined when Vermeer, impressed by her instinctive grasp of color and composition, secretly makes her his assistant, and later demands that she pose for him wearing Catharina's pearl earrings. While Chevalier develops the tension of this situation with skill, several other devices threaten to rob the narrative of its credibility. Griet's ability to suggest to Vermeer how to improve a painting demands one stretch of the reader's imagination. And Vermeer's acknowledgment of his debt to her, revealed in the denouement, is a blatant nod to sentimentality. Still, this is a completely absorbing story with enough historical authenticity and artistic intuition to mark Chevalier as a talented newcomer to the literary scene.
Excellent story; beautifully written.
Excellent story; beautifully written.
read it in about 4 days and loved it :) the film is not nearly as good as the book
A girl with a pearl earring
A beautiful story,well written and hard to put down!