Historical fiction, actually a book of short stories that follow a painting from modern times back to the painter and the subject of the painting. It's many different stories and varied lives woven into one tale. I like stories like this that follow an object through history, and Vreeland did this one very well, able to narrate a story from the perspective of a wide variety of characters, from a modern-day math professor in the USA to a French Lady in the time of Louis XIV, to a Dutch farm wife. I enjoyed it very much and will be looking for more from this author
This is not a long read, and the reverse chronology vignettes about the fictitious painting by Vermeer, "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" were very engrossing and at times surprising. I loved Vreeland's lush descriptions of Netherlands landscapes and scenery - you almost felt as if you were right there! This book wasn't just narratives of nature's beauty -- Vreeland also described poverty and the finality of life very well, too. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and some of the imagery Vreeland created will stay with me.
I just finished this book last night and I am not quite sure how I feel about it. The story was definately interesting how the painting touched so many peoples lives in such different ways. The book was somewhat depressing in a way though. There was a somber overcast in each of the short stories that seemed like a big dark cloud sitting over me as I read.
Amazing prose. The author tells the story in vignettes, but they all flow together as one novel, one story. The richness of the words is fathomless. The characterization is excellently conveyed by lack of description, an astonishing success there. This book is for any serious reader of excellent literature.
We follow a painting by Vermeer as it travels from person to person over the years. It is a great story about art and human life.