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Search tags: Tracy-Chevalier
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review 2018-08-21 03:38
New Boy
New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Tracy Chevalier

I've read several of Chevalier's books, so when I saw this one offered on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to get a copy. After reading two other books in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Vinegar Girl and Hag-Seed, I was curious to read Chevalier's take on Othello. I think this is a departure for Chevalier, whose historical fiction I love, but I am not sure what she intended here. Her protagonists are reimagined as 11-year-olds, and the drama occurs over the course of one school day, with most of the action taking place on the playground. For me, this format diminished the impact of the story. I am not sure why Chevalier set this in the '70s, especially when the words and actions of her characters seemed more in line with today's kids, as opposed to the much less eloquent and exceedingly more immature kids I remember, having been an 11-year-old in the '70s.  


To be fair, Chevalier on her worst day is significantly better than so many other published writers, that of course I finished reading it, and I have no regrets. Now, on to her other books on my TBR pile...

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review 2017-09-05 08:13
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

I don't have a review for this, but I read it and really liked it. I wanted to put this on here for anyone who might be curious what I rated it. As for now, it stands at a 5 star rating, though I have been known to change my ratings further down the road.


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review 2017-06-29 12:50
Girl With a Pearl Earring
Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier

Ever since reading a non-fiction book about the art forger Han Van Meegeren, I´ve been fascinated by Jan Vermeer and his paintings. So it was only a matter of time before I would pick up Girl With a Pearl Earring and I´m glad I did. Overall I enjoyed this novel about the maid Griet, who becomes the muse of Vermeer and inspires him to the well-known painting.


Admittedly, the narration is slow and subdued, the plot isn´t the most intricate one and I can´t say that I particularly liked Griet and all her troubles with the Vermeer family. But then there are the passages about Vermeer and his paintings which I thoroughly enjoyed.


The book is not a perfect novel, but it´s been really nice to revisit Vermeer´s work and my desire to see the actual painting (who is exhibited in Mauritshuis in Den Haag) has been rekindled.


I´ve read this book for the Waterworks square for Booklikes-opoly. Besides Girl With a Pearl Earring there is another famous painting of Vermeer on the cover, View of Delft. And this painting displays a stretch of water.


Page Count: 233 pages

Money earned: $6.00






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review 2017-06-07 19:25
At the Edge of the Orchard
At the Edge of the Orchard - Tracy Chevalier

I'm trying to catch up on my back reviews, but I wanted to review this one with Pachinko. I read them one after the other (if we're only counting 'adult' novels), and I thought they paired well together. They're both big family epics specifically tied to place.


I picked this book on a whim. It's the only Chevalier ebook that was available through the library when I was looking for a new work book. I hadn't heard anything about it, and it took a while for me to get into it.


In the end I enjoyed it. I liked the parts set in California most. I found James and Sadie's story lines a bit ridiculous in the end. That's just a small part of the book so I forgave Chevalier for it. The historical note at the end is informative. While I'm not inspired to read other books about trees, if I were I would appreciate it even more.

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review 2017-06-06 22:29
New Boy / Tracy Chevalier
New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Tracy Chevalier

Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote—“O” for short—knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day, so he is lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one boy, used to holding sway in the world of the school­yard, can’t stand to witness the budding relationship. When Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl, the school and its key players—teachers and pupils alike—will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is vividly transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington school, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. The world of preadolescents is as passionate and intense, if not more so, as that of adults. Drawing us into the lives and emotions of four eleven-year-olds—Osei, Dee, Ian and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi—Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by love and jealousy, bullying and betrayal, is as moving as it is enthralling. It is an unfor­gettable novel.


What is Othello about? Love, jealousy, betrayal, revenge, repentance. This retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy is intense. The action is condensed into one day on the school grounds. Osei is the new boy—introduced to this grade six class shortly before school ends for the summer. Son of a Ghanaian diplomat, O is used to being the new kid and to being the only black child in the schools he goes to.

Ian is every bit as calculating and cold as any Iago. He is sociopathic in this rendition—shaking down the other kids for their lunch money, turning games into gambling matches, using and abusing those around him. Dee is well-intentioned but easily manipulated by a malicious Ian, as is her best friend, Mimi.

This is an emotional stage in life, as kids go through puberty, start to obsess about relationships, figure out what tasks they are good at, and generally learn to steer their way through the obstacles of life. I was surprised that Chevalier chose this age group to tell this story, but for me it worked well.

It was a quick read and although I knew the broad strokes of the Othello story, I was pleasantly surprised by the details, the characters, and the inevitable ending.

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