"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

Book Report: Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland


Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

For my book club here in Kansas (as opposed to my blogging world book club which seems to have died), I recently read a short story by Susan Vreeland called "Cradle Song" from a collection of stories titled Life Studies. I enjoyed the story enough (I'm not really such a fan of short stories in general), and was looking for something else to read, so I checked out this book.

I really enjoyed the whole set up for it. One of the reading group questions was, is this a novel or a collection of short stories. It was both. It was a collection of short stories, all of which could have probably stood on their own, but together, they told a much greater story.

It starts with a man in more modern times trying to prove that the painting he's cherished his whole life is a Vermeer (you know, the Dutchman who painted The Girl with the Pearl Earring... also an excellent book by Tracy Chevalier). In the case of this story, it's a fictional painting, not a real Vermeer. As for the story, you'll have to read it to find out if the painting was really (read: fictionally) painted by Vermeer or not.

Anyways, I got off subject. The first story is the more modern times man in possession of the painting. He tells of how his father obtained the painting. The next story is that family that the first man described as the family from whom his father came to possess the painting. Then the next story is how that family got the painting. And so forth, until we get to the painter. Was it Vermeer or not? I will not tell. I really fell in love with how the big story was told through all the little stories. Plus it was much more satisfying to me, someone who isn't a fan of short stories because they always seem to end too soon when it's a disappointment, to know the whole story.

My only caution in recommending this book is there are some scenes that, although very vague, unclear and sometimes old fashioned in description, were in fact describing intimate moments between man and woman.

I guess I have one more caution, if you read her short story collection, Life Studies, the painting on the cover is a naked woman. So beware when checking it out from your library to avoid embarrassment.

1 comment:

wendys said...

The book sounds interesting... but I mainly wanted to tell you that I love the new layout. Very stylish.

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