No blank canvas for this story ... instead, inspired by Andrew Wyeth's iconic painting, the eponymous Christina of 'Christina's World' is brought to vivid life in this extensively researched backstory for one of the 20th century's most well-known paintings. The fledgling artist meets Christina Olson of Cushing, Maine when he has started to ascend the ladder of artistic success and she is a mature woman anchored to the farmhouse - the only home she has ever known - by a progressive, debilitating illness.
This is the story of an indomitable character, limited by health and circumstance, but given unexpected exposure through her special bond with a famous artist.
An unsettling story about a very hard life, made interesting by the back story of the famous artist and painting. Most of us enjoyed following Christina's life and indomitable spirit, but some found it hard going.
How to rate this book Our group was split between those that thought it was beautifully written and inspirational, to those that thought it was sad and depressing and a slog to get through. Obviously made for an interesting discussion.
Well worth reading. The author combines fact and fiction seamlessly. A fascinating read.
We all loved this story.
This reading group rated 'A Piece of the World' highly. The following comments were made: liked the quieter time the novel was set in; loved the language used in the novel; the links between art, poetry and the novel were beautifully matched and integrated into the story; the book notes were a really helpful adjunct in understanding the novel. Several of our group had studied art history and literature at university, which added to our discussion.
This was a thought-provoking story with fact and fiction skillfully interwoven. The group found it rather a sad story given the main character's disability and how it shaped her life.
We found this very readable and very interesting in its blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction. It gave fascinating insights into the work of the artist Andrew Wyeth and his famous painting, "Christina's World". We found much material on the internet which supported the story and gave more information about the real Christina's life and circumstances. We also found the book rather grim in its depiction of isolation in a rural community, crippling illness, material and spiritual hardship, rejection, and bitterness. Our reading engendered lively discussion.
A fascinating book - we all loved it. Several of us knew the painting and one person had a framed print of it. A great discussion piece.
We were engrossed in the life of Christina, and felt her every happiness, disappointment and relaxation as she dealt with her deteriorating issues of family, friends and disabilities. Outwardly stubborn yet fragile, she eventually allowed herself to relax as a model for an artist. Seldom have we read an author so competent in imparting feelings without telling of them outright. Maybe writing in the present tense helps. A wonderful example of show, don't tell...
Our group suggests the notes must be read first, and the painting at the back of the book needs to be looked at first.
We related to the well known painting and enjoyed the fiction/nonfiction writing around this. Quite depressing though!
The book was well liked. A very good blend of historical fact and fictional writing.
This book was a real winner in our group. Loved by 100%. Several have now read other books by Christian Baker Kline. Some of us were familiar with this painting, others not. But they are now! Highly recommended.
A brutal and disturbing story, but well worth reading. The author pulls you straight into her story and, despite the bleakness of the context and setting, holds your attention. It is a sad story and yet, paradoxically, it is also a testament to endurance. Christina Baker Kline uses Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, Christina's World, as her inspiration, and writes in Christina's voice taking us into her experiences and relationships. An excruciating life of disability and drudgery in a period and setting where all life was hard.
Would read this author again. Greatly enjoyed.
All members enjoyed this book, particularly the strong character of Christina, despite her physical pain and limitations. The interaction between Christina and Andrew Wyeth was also fascinating. One of the best books for group discussion beyond the set questions.
Overall everyone enjoyed this charming story, and it provoked lots of discussion. Although after a positive start, it did become rather dark towards the conclusion.
We all thought the book "a good read" though some found it a bit depressing. We had a good discussion on "determination" and whether it was sometimes not a good thing. Was she too determined for her own good Also discussed at length family attitudes to a child's disability, and what had changed since our parents and grandparents were faced with dealing with a disabled child.
Well-received book, liked by all members. All looked up painting. A sad story though, because Christina did not get the help that nowadays would be available, which had ramifications for the family.
Wonderful book - relatively light to read but raised awareness of, and debate about, a woman's place and depiction of in art.
Easy to read. The family history was fascinating, and the connection with Wyeth interesting. Christina slightly intriguing.
Very informative interesting book, and enjoyed by all.
All members of our group enjoyed this book. The author has balanced the historical facts with fiction beautifully. One of our members commented "the author has managed to make a huge story out of a small world". Christina's struggles, determination, stubbornness and strength captivated the reader. The painting 'Christina's World' was known and appreciated by some of our group. Beautiful work.
Everyone enjoyed this book. Thought it was well-written and easy to follow.
We loved this novel, especially as we were all familiar with the painting 'Christina's World'. Two of our group had actually had a print of the painting on their wall when at University!!
All members liked the book a lot.