In Susan Vreeland’s The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, a math professor summons his fellow colleague from the art department to take a look at one of his paintings. The math professor is insistent that it’s a Vermeer from its various characteristics, but while he is adamant about the painter and the painting’s worth, the author explains throughout the novel what art should really mean to a person. I loved this book, because Vreeland showed how a painting is much more than its monetary worth, and she used reverse chronology to tell the stories of the many previous owners of the painting. Each owner felt a connection to the painting, regardless of who the painter was. The painting evoked emotions that were deeply settled in the owners and that’s what art is really about; it stirs the viewer and brings meaning to the piece of art. I give this book a ⅗ star rating and recommend it to ages 12+. @ilovefood of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board
* Although it's not science fiction, this collection of short stories gives the illusion of time travel. Each of the stories takes place during a different time period.
* The connection among all the stories is that the main character in each one owns the titular painting. I love books that are built around original concepts like this.
* Vreeland makes an interesting point about the subjectivity of art. Each of her characters interprets the facial expression of the girl in the painting in a different way. Then in the final story the reader finds out how the girl actually feels.
Interesting, well written,but not my favorite book. The chapter about the artist was the most interesting to me, and other chapters gave a glimpse of what life may have been like at the time. The book is several vignettes woven together-- no unifying theme.
Great enjoyment to read the stories behind the little picture of Vermeer. Quite innovative writing with great style.
Enjoyed this little book. Not a big book and easy to read. Would like to read it again a some time
I found this book very hard to follow. Good book, but felt it left a lot of loose ends.
Reading "Vermeer"by Anthony Bailey was essential to grasping this book, fully . Loved it ! The middle chapters were extraordinary !
This book will be discussed on Sept. 21, 2011 at the Frisbie Senior Center.
Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a series of vignettes chronicling the reverse history of a fictional Vermeer painting of the same name. Vreeland's colorful portraits of Dutch life, from the wealthy to the poorest peasants, spanning several hundred years, are fascinating. I wouldn't have minded delving further into each of the tales, and the only other thing that could have improved the book was if the painting, which plays a silent, starring role in each of the stories, really existed.
GiHB was enjoyable, but was a small disappointment after Vreeland's breathtaking Luncheon of the Boating Party.
Susan Vreeland has created a series of vignettes that reveal the history of a supposed Vermeer painting and the people who love it. Each chapter takes the reader one owner back until we find out if it really is a Vermeer and how it came to be. I was amazed at the simple descriptions and dreamlike quality that accompanies each chapter. The ending is marvelous. Vreeland herself becomes the artist as she reveals layer by layer the beauty of a painting and our fascination with art.
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