Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Paperback - 2000
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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. The professor swears it is a Vermeer--but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2000, c1999.
ISBN: 9780140296280
Characteristics: 242, 15 pages ;,19 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 03, 2016

* Although it's not science fiction, this collection of short stories gives the illusion of time travel. Each of the stories takes place during a different time period.

* The connection among all the stories is that the main character in each one owns the titular painting. I love books that are built around original concepts like this.

* Vreeland makes an interesting point about the subjectivity of art. Each of her characters interprets the facial expression of the girl in the painting in a different way. Then in the final story the reader finds out how the girl actually feels.

May 25, 2016

Interesting, well written,but not my favorite book. The chapter about the artist was the most interesting to me, and other chapters gave a glimpse of what life may have been like at the time. The book is several vignettes woven together-- no unifying theme.

Jul 03, 2013

Great enjoyment to read the stories behind the little picture of Vermeer. Quite innovative writing with great style.

May 01, 2013

Enjoyed this little book. Not a big book and easy to read. Would like to read it again a some time

May 19, 2012

I found this book very hard to follow. Good book, but felt it left a lot of loose ends.

Nov 14, 2011

Reading "Vermeer"by Anthony Bailey was essential to grasping this book, fully . Loved it ! The middle chapters were extraordinary !

fluffarama21 Dec 01, 2010

This book will be discussed on Sept. 21, 2011 at the Frisbie Senior Center.

Jul 07, 2008

Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a series of vignettes chronicling the reverse history of a fictional Vermeer painting of the same name. Vreeland's colorful portraits of Dutch life, from the wealthy to the poorest peasants, spanning several hundred years, are fascinating. I wouldn't have minded delving further into each of the tales, and the only other thing that could have improved the book was if the painting, which plays a silent, starring role in each of the stories, really existed.

GiHB was enjoyable, but was a small disappointment after Vreeland's breathtaking Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Dec 20, 2001

Susan Vreeland has created a series of vignettes that reveal the history of a supposed Vermeer painting and the people who love it. Each chapter takes the reader one owner back until we find out if it really is a Vermeer and how it came to be. I was amazed at the simple descriptions and dreamlike quality that accompanies each chapter. The ending is marvelous. Vreeland herself becomes the artist as she reveals layer by layer the beauty of a painting and our fascination with art.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

SLS owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top