Sunday, December 09, 2007

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

This nifty little novel reminds me of a cross between the 1998 Samuel L. Jackson film, The Red Violin and a novel, The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, also made into a film starring Scarlet Johansson and Colin Firth in 2003. I highly recommend both flicks and the book!
Hyacinth Blue revolves around a painting, some people believe it to be a lost/unknown Vermeer, while others think it is a forgery done in the 1930s. Vreeland traces the provenance of the work that, real or not, enchants everyone who sees it. I have seen three Vermeers, and I understand that emotional response completely.
Vreeland’s novel is an easy read, and only research papers and preparation for finals prevented me from finishing it in a day or two. Not as good as Chevalier by any means, but still a worthwhile read.
Not every author can work their name into his or her own novel, but Vreeland has done that. A clever little marker which sets her work apart. My name happens to be in James Joyce’s Ulysses, but I had nothing to do with that! Four stars--Chiron, 12/ 09/2007

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