This is the first novel I have read by Christina Baker Kline and I am definitely interested in reading more. I read this novel as a selection for our book club this month. Previously I had placed her book "The Exiles" on my reading list for this year's challenges and now I cannot wait to read that selection.
This book is a fictional piece based upon the work "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth. This story is wonderfully written and the characters well developed. They exhibit realistic emotions and reactions to their lives. I appreciated that their shortcomings, moments of jealousy, spite and self pity are portrayed along with their strengths and admirable traits. It made them feel real.
Kline's descriptions of the landscape and the farming and fishing life was wonderful. Not too descriptive to lose readers who prefer more active text but enough to really paint the picture. I think I may have had a very vivid image of the landscape in my mind as I actually had the opportunity to discuss this piece of art with my son's elementary class for art appreciation. This novel gives so much more depth and "life" to the art piece. I really enjoyed it.
My only hesitation and why I didn't give it 5 stars was a bit of confusion at times remembering where in history the particular portion of the story was set. Since the dual time progressions were both historic it wasn't always easy to discern where in time the story was a moments. This did not ruin the story at all, but rather just slowed down my progression as I either had to flip back or keep guessing until the context came into focus.
I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read her other works as well.
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is an amazing novel delving into the story behind Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, "Christina's World" The characters are well developed and truly realistic. They each exhibit selfishness, love and compassion. They truly feel like real people. The fictional weaving of a story around the painting and the relationship between Christina Olson as Wyethy's muse and as a person is amazing. My only hesitation in giving it 5 stars was the fact that at times it was hard to remember where in the dual timeline the story was at the moment. It is especially tricky since all of it is in the past; the modern piece was in the late 1940s so there were not ready clues to ground my awareness especially since the story spans 2 World Wars. The depiction of the hardship and the challenges of living on a farm in Maine is well portrayed and it is easy to see the paradox between year round residents and the summer visitors. Some of the temporary residents fit in better than others.
All in all this is a great book and I recommend it highly, I especially think it is well worth reading the author's note at the end to give full context.
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
- Library Love #LibraryLoveChallenge Book #14
- Literary Escapes #LiteraryEscapes ME
- Beat the Backlist #29 historical with a twist
- 2021TBR #2021ReadingChallenge # 1 historical fiction
- Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021 Book #20
- Back List Reader #Backlistreader Book #23
- Historic Fiction #histficreadingchallenge Book #4
- Around the Year in 52 Books #18. 3 books related to "Past, Present, Future" - Book 1
- 52 Book Club #the52bookclub2021 #47 A Character With A Disability
- The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge #34. Martin: by/about a poet OR includes poetry
- BooklistQueen # 27. Book Club Favorite
- Nerd Daily #NERDREADING2021 #23. A NEW AUTHOR TO YOU
- Bookworm #55.) Read a book (fiction or nonfiction) about a topic that's always interested you, but you haven't read about it yet
- Magic in the Books Book 2 #6 A book that was borrowed
- Pick your Poison #5 occupations- about a farmer