From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash hit 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.
I'm working on a quilt patch in the kitchen on a brilliant July afternoon, small squares of fabric and a pincushion and scissors on the table beside me, when I hear the hum of a car engine. Looking out the window toward the cove, I see a station wagon turn into the field about a hundred yards away. The engine cuts off and the passenger door swings open and Betsy James gets out, laughing and exclaiming. I haven't seen her since last summer. She's wearing a white halter top and denim shorts, a red bandanna tied around her neck. As I watch her coming toward the house, I am struck by how different she looks. Her sweet round face has thinned and lengthened; her chestnut hair is long and thick around her shoulders, her eyes dark and shining.
A red slash of lipstick. I think of her at nine years old, when she first came to visit, her small, nimble fingers braiding my hair as she sat behind me on the stoop. And here she is, seventeen and suddenly a woman.
I highly recommend adding A Piece of the World to the must-read list of avid readers of historical fiction, and especially to book clubs. Discussion topics abound!
(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
Full Review (645 words).
Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World, the subject of A Piece of the World, was initially met with little fanfare, and its critical reception was lackluster. Nevertheless, the painting, which features Christina Olson reaching toward her home in the distance, was purchased during its first showing at a New York Gallery in 1948 by Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Today it is one of MoMA's most admired exhibits and has become a well-known representation of American art. The painting has been loaned out only once since its purchase when it was shown for two days in 2009 at Chadds Ford, PA, Wyeth's hometown, in memoriam of the artist.
The Olson House, which is featured in many of Wyeth's paintings, ...
If you liked A Piece of the World, try these:
Astonishing prose brings to life a forgotten woman and a lost world in a strange and bittersweet Southern pastoral.
An exceptional first novel based on the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney and her clandestine love affair with famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Discover your next great read here
They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.