by Susan Vreeland
"A professor invites a colleague from the art department to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer -- why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of stories that trace ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in human lives. Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of the mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts, and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable." (From the back of the Penguin edition.)
Thanks to the Art History Reading Challenge, Johannes Vermeer and I meet again. Girl in Hyacinth Blue would be a perfect book for a reading group. I loved the way the stories followed the painting back in time and the reader is shown glimpses of the various lives it had touched. To compare and contrast those lives and the part the painting played in them would be a remarkable discussion! I thought it was an ingenious way of tying together a series of short stories. It could be my lack of experience in this type of sub-genre, but there is always something that feels unique about the way Vreeland approaches her subjects. This was my second of her books for this challenge, and she is a writer that believe I will continue to explore.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!