9781878448903 / 1878448900

Girl in Hyacinth Blue


3.70 avg rating28,410 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:MacMurray & Beck, 1999



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About the book:

A Dutch painting of a young girl, possibly a Vermeer, survives three and a half centuries through loss, flood, anonymity, secrecy, theft, even the Holocaust. This is the story of its sometimes desperate owners whose lives are influenced by its seductive beauty and mystery, and whose defining moments take place in its presence. Despite their unsatisfied longings, their own and others' flaws, the girl in hyacinth blue has the power to generate love in all its human variety.

The German-American son of the Nazi who looted it from a Jewish home in Amsterdam in 1942, hides it out of shame for his father's atrocities, loves it with awe and passion, wrestles with moral questions of unlawful ownership and his own responsibilities of penance and restitution, and, like his father, ultimately fails as a human being.

The rest of the eight stories which make up this composite novel move back in time to the Renaissance. In each episode, the painting figures in casual affairs, natural catastrophe, flawed marriages, domestic violence, a murder, a hanging, yet in spite of these dreary circumstances, the power of beauty and art elevates the characters in individual, subtle ways.

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