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A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline


Overview - Click Here For the Autographed Copy

"Graceful, moving and powerful."

--Michael Chabon, New York Times bestselling author of Moonglow

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth's mysterious and iconic painting Christina's World.  Read more...


 
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More About A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
 
 
 
Overview
Click Here For the Autographed Copy

"Graceful, moving and powerful."

--Michael Chabon, New York Times bestselling author of Moonglow

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller 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.

This edition includes a four-color reproduction of Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World.

From our buyer, Margaret Terwey: "A Piece of the World is based on the woman in Andrew Wyeth's famous painting Christina's World. Wyeth was inspired after seeing Anna Christina Olson crawling across a field at her family's seaside farm in Maine, not able to walk because of a degenerative ailment. If you've ever looked at that painting and wondered about the determined woman and her bleak surroundings, this powerful novel fills in the blanks, weaving fact and fiction through the decades of her heartbreaking yet inspiring life."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062356260
  • ISBN-10: 0062356267
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2017
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Historical - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-12-19
  • Reviewer: Staff

The world of the woman immortalized in Andrew Wyeths haunting painting Christinas World is imagined in Klines (Orphan Train) intriguing novel. The artist meets Christina Olson in 1939 when he summers near her home in Cushing, Maine, introduced by Betsy James, the young woman who knew the Olsons and would become Wyeths wife. The story is told from Christinas point of view, from the moment she reflects on the painting; it then goes back and forth through her history, from her childhood through the time that Wyeth painted at her family farm, using its environs and Christina and her brother as subjects. First encountering Christina as a middle-aged woman, Wyeth saw something in her that others did not. Their shared bond of physical infirmity (she had undiagnosed polio; he had a damaged right foot and bad hip) enables her to open up about her family and her difficult life, primarily as a shut-in, caring for her family, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and doing laundryall without electricity and despite her debilitating disease. Hope of escape, when her teacher offers her the chance to take her place, was summarily quashed by her father. Her first and only romance with a summer visitor from Boston has an ignoble end when he marries someone in his social class. Through it all, the authors insightful, evocative prose brings Christinas singular perspective and indomitable spirit to life. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Alternate art history

Some works of art are so iconic that the viewer can’t help but wonder about the backstory. Take, for example, “Christina’s World,” painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1948 and inspired by a woman named Christina Olson. The painting shows a young woman with her back to the viewer, lying in a vast field and looking up at a ­weather-beaten house and its smaller outbuildings. Though we can’t see her face, we get the impression that she’s yearning for something.

Christina Baker Kline’s superb new novel chronicles the constricted life of the woman Wyeth made famous. The Christina in Kline’s book used to yearn for things, but poverty and disability made her aware early on that some of the pleasures of life were not to be hers. We first meet her as a young child, on her sickbed. Yet, despite her challenges, the young Christina is smart, stubborn, resourceful and even physically brave. But bad luck, bad timing, other people’s bad decisions or bad faith shrink her life down to the old house and the plot of land it stands on. Alone in the house with her younger brother, her life is year after year of drudgery. Then Wyeth shows up and takes one of her upstairs rooms as a studio.

In case you’re wondering, no, Wyeth and Christina don’t fall in love and run away together. Wyeth’s most famous painting is deceptive; the real Christina was old enough to be his mother. What is forged between them is a tender connection and understanding.

The beauty of Kline’s writing and her grasp of her characters is such that at first you want to sink into this book like a warm bath. But she doesn’t allow her reader to get too comfortable. Christina is not a woman who accepts her disappointments with saintly forbearance. She is bitter, disappointed and occasionally spiteful. But the good-natured and talented young painter does not pity her—he sees her humanity.

Gentle and profound, A Piece of the World shows the healing power of simple, unexpected friendship.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews