I received a free copy of A Piece of the World for my honest review.
About the Book:
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (February 21, 2017)
“Graceful, moving and powerful.” –Michael Chabon, New York Times bestselling author of Moonglow
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.
“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.
As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.
This edition includes a four-color reproduction of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World.
About the Author:
Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. She lives outside of New York City and on the coast of Maine.
I will admit that when I accepted this book for review I truly didn’t understand what it was about. I was intrigued by the synopsis but didn’t see a cover of the book so didn’t have the full picture of what I would be reading until I had the book in my hand. Once I saw that cover I of course knew I would be reading a book about Andrew Wyeth because that painting is very well known – at least it certainly should be to a student of art history like myself.
The book is based in fact which I also didn’t know when I started reading. That always adds a new dimension to a book if you ask me. Christina Olsen is a young woman who lived her whole live – with just a few days away – on her family’s farm. She suffered from some manner of ailment, it was never fully explained and perhaps it was never truly diagnosed in her time but it left her disabled. She didn’t let it stop her from doing what had to be done though. She also flat out refused to see doctors about it.
She was not a very sympathetic character for most of the book. Her life was not an easy one and her family and health situation didn’t make things any easier. She also didn’t do much to help herself – she chose to live in her misery instead of trying to better her situation. It was a very different time but there are things that she could have done. Particularly in the way she chose to interact with people.
Andrew Wyeth came into her life when he was just starting to paint and she was older and quite settled in to her life on the family farm as a spinster living with her brother. He brought a breath of life and a lot of joy into their situation through his relationship with their niece. I did a fair amount of googling after I finished the book – I do love a book that makes me want to learn more.
This was an easy to read, evenly paced book. It had no big scenes or shocking twists, it was just the story of a somewhat sad woman over the course of her life and how that life developed some relevance because of the attention of painter who created a work of art that became iconic.