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The Miniaturist: A Novel Paperback – Illustrated, June 2, 2015
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“The Miniaturist is that rarest of things - beautifully written, yet also a compelling page-turner. It’s haunting, magical, and full of surprises, the kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading.” (―S.J. Watson, author of Before I Go To Sleep)
‘Utterly transporting...one of those rare debut novels that excels in every regard. The past is brought to life in potent, sensory detail: one feels steeped in it. Burton’s prose beguiles the reader...My first instinct on finishing this book was to immediately read it again.” (Hannah Kent, author of Burial Rites)
“Burton’s writing is expressive and descriptive. While her prose is rich, it does not overwhelm the story...This historical novel with its strong female characters will appeal to those who enjoy the haunting undercurrents of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind.” (―Library Journal)
“[A] haunting debut.” (Good Housekeeping)
“Jessie Burton nimbly transports contemporary social issues to the 17th century where a costume drama rich in historical detail is embellished with supernatural intrigue…The Miniaturist is a late-harvest summer delight.” (New York Daily News)
“As in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, the pleasure lies in giving in to well-wrought illusions, and the result is a beach read with meat on its bones - perfect for the Labor Day transition from play to work.” (New York magazine/Vulture.com)
“Rich in 17th century atmosphere…Debut novelist Jessie Burton has a terrific subject... All those severe portraits of people in dark clothes and starched white ruffs, along with those glossy, death-scented still lifes, spring to life.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
“A standout portrayal of the wide range of women’s ingenuity.” (Booklist)
“A fabulously gripping read that will appeal to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch, but Burton is a genuinely new voice with her visceral take on sex, race and class...” (―The Guardian)
From the Back Cover
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her splendid new home is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, and leaves Nella alone with his sister, the fearsome Marin.
Nella's life unexpectedly changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish it, she engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie ways.
Johannes's gift helps Nella pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers around them. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation...or the architect of their destruction?
- Publisher : Ecco; Illustrated edition (June 2, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062306847
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062306845
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.97 x 5.31 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #54,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The writing is as detailed and precise as a painting by Vermeer and was the perfect style to tell this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and stayed up late into the night reading. This is not a quick beach-read sort of book, but the type to sink into before the fire on a cold winter night. It's also surprisingly relevant to modern times.
Top reviews from other countries
Burton is very good at bringing into the centre ground the importance of sugar. People's prosperity depends on it, yet it symbolises the sickly indulgence of a city saturated in its own opulence against a leering backdrop of Protestant austerity. Amsterdam becomes a terrible victim of its own commercial success. Riddled with hypocrisy, the city drinks from its own poisoned chalice with guilds, merchants and magistrates all vying for position as Nella sets about discovering her true woman's self beyond the cabinet that her husband brings her as compensation for an unconsummated marriage. The Miniaturist, in turning her into one of the puppets, in the end allows her to see into the compartments of her own life, so that she becomes the most powerful magistrate of them all in command of the thing that really matters, her own life as a woman. This is a brilliant debut novel, but the men float too freely, never properly pinned down to those vital dynamic encounters with the crises of their own lives, eluding and escaping instead of engaging with them. Two mottos, the one stating that 'Everything Man Sees He Takes For A Toy. Thus He Is Forever A Boy' and the other that 'Every Woman Is The Architect Of Her Own Fortune' together tend to nullify each other and prevent the evolution of the male characters. Fight to emerge, but relish the ending. It's beautifully done.
I became immersed in the characters and quite attached to some of them.
The cruelty and brutality of the protestant religious leaders of the Dutch Republic is appalling. They flex their man-made power in the name of God and they wallow in the satisfaction that the get from their unchallengeable authority. Even the wealth of the merchants is trumped by the pastors.
I loved the mystery that surrounded the wonderful craftmanship of the miniaturist who supplies tiny replicas of people and objects which predict actual events. She is seldom seen and is a prophet of reality. That is rather scary at times.
The story is gripping. This book kept me awake until well after one in the morning on several occasions.
For me, because of the background, the scene-setting, the religious undertones, the character-building and the starkness of society, The Miniaturist struck echoes of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I mean that as a huge complement to the writing of Jessie Burton.
For a while, I wavered between awarding four stars or five stars because I became irritated by the number of missing inverted commas and apostrophes. However, it would have been very unfair to award less than five stars to a book that gripped me from beginning to end and stirred my emotions so much that I wept many tears for the tragedy.
You must read this book.
This book draws you in from the first page. Nothing and no one is as they seem on first appearance and every character has secrets and mysteries to share. This might be set in the 1600s but the themes are no different to today, greed, love, lust and hypocrlsy to name a few.