In eight quasi-connected stories, Susan Vreeland delivers a fictional lesson on aesthetics. Set amidst human sorrow and historic chaos, the narrative follows an imagined Vermeer painting from the present day through years of its provenance—beginning with its willful destruction in the s and concluding with its inspired creation in the s:. Chapter 1. Chapter 2.
Girl in Hyacinth Blue Reader’s Guide
Girl in Hyacinth Blue
The Girl in Hyacinth Blue proceeds backward in time, following the history of one Vermeer painting, of a girl in a blue wrap, inside of an open window. The painting has enormous value in the present, but as the novel proceeds back to the time when it was painted, its value rises and falls based on whether its owners know where it came from, and whether they see any value in art. Except for this painting, which is present in every chapter, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue is really a collection of linked short stories. The stories vary from a coming of age story, to stories of love and loss, of murder and execution, to longing and nostalgia and death. The history goes from the present day the book was written in back to the mid-seventeenth-century, when Vermeer made the picture. They hold onto the painting for its ineffable qualities, and part with it only when necessary.
Girl in Hyacinth Blue Summary & Study Guide
Rate this book. Buy This Book. The history of a Vermeer painting unfolds through a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to the moment of the work's inspiration. This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades.
Susan Vreeland's second novel, "Girl in Hyacinth Blue," may be a book about a painting, but it is never content with surfaces. Tracing the influence of one extraordinary picture on a succession of human lives, it touches gently yet thoughtfully on such weighty topics as the immortality of a great artwork and the ways in which art can be used for various ends. In the course of her explorations, Vreeland covers a lot of time and space: "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" begins in present-day America and ends in the 17th century Netherlands, scrolling backward as each chapter accounts for the painting's role in the life of one of its owners.