Girl With a Pearl Earring

Reception

The novel was published in Britain in 1999 and a year later in the United States, where it became a New York Times bestseller,[4] Though it was nominated for several fiction prizes, it won only the Barnes & Noble Discover Award in 2000[5] and the 2001 Alex Award for books that have special appeal to young adults. In 2001 Plume released the U.S. paperback edition with an initial print-run of 120,000 copies; a year later the book had been reprinted 18 times with close to two million copies sold.[6] In 2005 HarperCollins brought out a UK special edition with nine colour plates of Vermeer paintings, published in celebration of one million copies sold.[7]

The New York Times described the work as a "brainy novel whose passion is ideas";[8] Atlantic Monthly praised Chevalier's effort "in creating the feel of a society with sharp divisions in status and creed”.[9] However, Publishers Weekly noted details that “threaten to rob the narrative of its credibility. Griet's ability to suggest to Vermeer how to improve a painting demands one stretch of the reader's imagination. And Vermeer's acknowledgment of his debt to her, revealed in the denouement, is a blatant nod to sentimentality”.[10] Details were also called into question by the art historian Gary Schwarz, particularly the simplistic portrayal of the Catholic/Protestant division in a country where the differences between Protestants were equally important.[11]

As well as the high English-language sales, the novel’s popularity has seen it translated into most European languages and in Asia into Turkish, Georgian, Persian, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.[12]


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