Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lent to Me Last Week..I finished it right away.

My friend knows I like art, so she was kind enough to lend me a copy of Susan Vreeland's "Girl in Hyacinth Blue"; it's a novel made up of associated short stories, connected by the common ownership of a lost painting by Johannes van der Meer or Vermeer. The series of stories regresses in time from the present: the son of a Nazi soldier who stole the painting from the home of Jewish people he had just delivered to the rail terminal for deportation. The father is now deceased and the son is anguished with guilt vs. his love for the painting. The next story is about the young Jewish girl whose father bought the painting for her; the family's anguish as Passover nears and pressure from the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam builds upon them. In the 19th Century, the painting reveals a marriage in crisis when the husband lets it slip that the girl in the painting reminds him of a still-burning affection for a long lost love. An amusing narration from a refugee of the French Revolution in next. The painting accompanies a "moses baby" during a flood in the early 1700's, with an account of witchcraft and horror. Finally, the story of the paintings creation. It's interesting to think of the possessions that survive us and passed from one generation to another. It was a good book.

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