Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

I've had this novel for years.  It has been sitting on my bookshelf, and I've picked it up several times, only to put it back again.  Why?  I don't know.  I just always chose to read another one instead.
Well, at last it was her turn, the Girl in Hyacinth Blue.  
The book is written by American author Susan Vreeland.  It is about a painting, supposedly by the Dutch artist Vermeer.  
In the first chapter we are close to our own time, probably late 20th century.  A math teacher at a boys' college shows his colleague a painting that he claims to be a Vermeer.
The rest of the novel is a time travel, where we follow the painting, going back  throughout the centuries.  
It is a story about Art, about Holland, and about relationships between human beings.  We get to know Amsterdam during the second world war, we touch the Holocaust, there is knowledge about Holland, and it's geography, about it's people, about it's floods...
And, in the middle of all these stories, the different people we get to meet, there is the painting of a girl, gazing out a window.
I know this painting is part of Vreeland's fiction, but I still long to see it!  The authenticity of the painting is debated in the novel, but it has many of the typical attributes of a Vermeer.
Johannes Vermeer is one of my favorite artists, and I have seen many of his paintings IRL.  I even twice took a detour from my logical travel route, just to see one of his paintings....  But, this belongs to another blog post, sorry for rambling.  This is about Susan Vreeland's book, and I'm now so glad I finally got around to it!  I'll probable read it again one day.  It's not very big, but even being a rather short novel, it is filled to the rim of people, places and stories.  And, not to forget all the words of wisdom concerning human beings and their relations to each other.


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