Book review: Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
A slim offering of historical fiction about Johannes Vermeer's enigmatic portrait of an unknown young girl, circa 1665.
It's a breathtaking, tantalizing love story….tantalizing because Vermeer and the maid, Griet, almost embrace their passion, each stepping over the line without transgression, but not without hurt:
Vermeer, the worldly one, the master, tempted to the edge of the precipice…
Griet, the child innocent, heedless of her woman's heat, trespassing unaware and ever nearer to the mystery that she barely understands in the beginning….
She feels the lush weight of the earring, his fingertip sears her skin, she inclines toward his touch, trembles with a disembodied, virginal start of pain….
Quickly stilled, she sits for him.
He trembles—a long moment—with the rush of desire, masters it, and steps back to his easel, granting her a little more time in the childhood she is leaving behind, giving her a peace that will become a bereavement, a keening memory….
They look at each other, mute, apart yet bound, in flagrante delicto, withering, without joy….