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A Piece of the World: A Novel

A Piece of the World: A Novel

Написано Christina Baker Kline

Озвучено Polly Stone


A Piece of the World: A Novel

Написано Christina Baker Kline

Озвучено Polly Stone

оценки:
4/5 (79 оценки)
Длина:
8 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 21, 2017
ISBN:
9780062466709
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

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.

Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 21, 2017
ISBN:
9780062466709
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

Christina Baker Kline is the author of six novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train as well as A Piece of the World. She lives outside New York City and spends as much time as possible on the coast of Maine. Learn more about Christina at www.christinabakerkline.com.


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  • (4/5)
    A fictionalized version of Christina Olson of "Christina's World", the iconic Andrew Wyeth painting, made this reader much more interested in Wyeth and his wife Betsy than in Christina, whose story is just so sad and uninspiring and had such an unhappy life of drudgery.
  • (4/5)
    Fictionalized story of Christina Olsen, the subject of Andrew Wyatt’s famous painting, Christina’s world. I liked the story eventhough it was sad and depressing at certain parts. Christina survived the best she could with an inherited disease that no doctor’s could figure out what ailed her.
  • (4/5)
    Very interesting mix of history and fiction. Mixed emotions on this - Enjoyed the story, however felt so sad for the main character, although, a very hard life she led, she did seem to be content with her simple life always wondering how it could have been.
  • (5/5)
    Based on the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World, the author did an incredible job both in writing and research.Andrew Wyeth lived in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. However, in the summers, he lived in rural Maine, where he gained inspiration of the stark climates and life lived simply.His painting of Christina Olson is one of Wyeth's best known. Afflicted with a debilitating neurological disease, now believed to have been a syndrome called Charcot-Marie-Tooth wherein there is extensive damage to the nerves of the arms and legs.Crippled, but incredibly stubborn and resilant, Christina helped with chores on her families farm. It is there where Wyeth became enamoured with the difficult life of farm and rural living. He was a frequent guest at the farm and basically took over the third floor of the house to paint.This is a novel using fact, but also, as the author notes, the author wove fiction in order to make the book more interesting.My review could not do the book justice. I highly recommend A Piece of the World.Five Stars
  • (4/5)
    As portrayed by author Christina Baker Kline, Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth's famous painting Christina's World is a cold, prickly spinster on a par with Eleanor Oliphant. Afflicted by a severe but un-diagnosed mobility disorder, the painting's Christina nonetheless carries out all the domestic activities associated with an early twentieth century family farm, including endless rounds of sewing, baking, and caring for animals. She regrets that her parents forced her to end her education and that the only man to court her was too weak to stand up for their relationship. It's a hard, circumscribed life, with few pleasures. The painter Andrew Wyeth, who is not as prominent in the novel as one would expect, sees in Christina a kindred spirit, and paints a portrait that reveals her solitude and her longing.I liked this novel and its depiction of an unconventional "old maid" heroine, but I felt that the author could have cut back on some of the domestic detail. if I have to read one more description of the making of sourdough bread...
  • (4/5)
    A PIECE OF THE WORLD is historical fiction about Christina Olson, the woman in Andrew Wyeth’s painting CHRISTINA’S WORLD. According to Christina Baker Kline (the author, not the Christina in the painting), Christina Olson and many of the other people in this novel were (and some are, she says) real people. Kline did a tremendous amount of research on them, and A PIECE OF THE WORLD is based on the facts she found. But she did have to let her research go at some points and present this book as fiction.This novel can be slow when farming details and life running a household on a farm are described. Also, I get bored when I read about children’s meanness to other children, something I think is common and experienced by all children to one degree or another. This is given too much attention in too many books.But once Christina is a young adult, her story is absorbing. Warning, though: Christina’s life is sad, too. I may have found it even more so. As a handicapped person, I experienced some of the same events that Christina did.One paragraph in this book describes the way Christina feels about her chronic pain. It exactly explains the way I feel, so exactly that I wonder how Kline knew enough to write it. Perhaps this is something she found in her research.That is the problem I have with historical fiction. Although I love it because it is more real than other fiction, I always want to know what in particular is fact and what did the author imagine.
  • (4/5)
    It is a famous picture. Christina’s World but what is the story behind the painting. Based on facts and imagination. The author tries to answer this question.
  • (5/5)
    My sister recommended this book, knowing I love Wyeth paintings and live in Maine. She also mentioned how it reminded her of our great-grandmother and her brother who lived on a similar farm in Connecticut.Christina Olsen lived all her life in Cushing, Maine on the farm her ancestors owned for many generations. When she was forty-six years old, Andrew Wyeth and his soon-to-be wife, Betsy, visited. Andy fell in love with the old farmhouse and spent most of his summers there painting in an abandoned upstairs room. Christina became his muse, most famously in the painting Christina's World. Christina Olson was born in 1893, the eldest child and only daughter, to the last heir of the Hathorn family and the Swedish sailor she married. As a child, she suffered from an illness thought to be polio at the time (it was later diagnosed after her death as probably CMT, a rare debilitating disease). It didn't stop her from her farmwork though she often stumbled and fell, and also suffered cuts and burns as her hands and arms grew weaker and weaker. The two youngest brothers eventually married and moved off the farm, leaving Christina and her brother Al (Alvaro).As portrayed by Ms. Kline, she is a proud and independent woman despite her disability. Eventually, she dragged herself around the farm, disdaining the use of a wheelchair. She lives a quiet life although there was a time when she had a suitor, a summer visitor who eventually married elsewhere. As my sister noted, it was easy to recognize the way she lived from my own childhood visits to my great-grandmother. I can remember her churning her butter and pumps in the kitchen sink. Unlike Christina, she and my great-uncle got electricity and running water, but they had a working farm. My mother would bring us up there to pick berries, and we'd roam the woods.Uncle Gene often took his horse and wagon about town. It's a delight to have some of those memories brought back to life in this book as the Olsens lived much the same. But this book is so much more. It is beautifully written story with descriptive prose that captures vividly the Maine coast. I could feel the bristles of the blueberry barrens, the salt air of the sea, and the calls of the gulls. While the art is important, it is the vignettes of Maine that will stay will me the longest.
  • (5/5)
    This was so good, I could have read 500 pages more.Each character leapt off the page, and I felt by the end of the book that I knew Christina, Al, Andy, Gertrude and the rest of the characters personally, like my next door neighbors who I can just pop round to see whenever I'd like. Each was flawed, but each somehow struck sympathy within me, and made me feel for them.Christina, though. I grew to love her almost instantly. So strong, hard-headed, selfless, proud, yet full of self-doubt and fear. She was human, and I so enjoyed going through all her struggles and successes with her. She was so real, I feel as if I know her personally. As if I could visit her in her house, in her world, if I just take the time to visit Maine.I want to see this painting now, to see Christina's World, and to just stare at it for a while. To take it in, and relive the book, relive Christina's life in the way that Christina Baker Kline so masterfully portrayed it and portrayed Christina.I didn't know a single thing about this painting, Andrew Wyeth or Christina, before reading this. Now I can't wait to learn more.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting premise, and there were great pieces of the story, but overall was pretty sad. Guess this just wasn't the right time for me to read this one.
  • (4/5)
    I received this kindle book through Goodreads Giveaway, thank you. This was an amazing story that intertwined the life of Christina and the story behind paintings by Andrew Wyeth. It was so heartbreaking while at the same time putting a story behind the art work of Wyeth. Definitely well worth reading. Thank you again Goodreads Giveaway.
  • (4/5)
    When you look at a painting, do you ever wonder what the greater story outside of the painting is? Who are the people in the confines of the frame? What kind of life do they lead? Obviously the painting itself often gives the viewer clues but what else are we not told? Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth is certainly a painting that invites further speculation, especially once the viewer knows that there was in fact a real life Christina, Christina Olson, who inspired the painting. Christina Baker Kline has taken Wyeth's Christina and using the available historical information imagined a whole life for Wyeth's middle aged, spinster, Maine neighbor in her latest novel, A Piece of the World.Christina Olson lives with her younger brother Alvaro on the family farm in a large house, once proud now shabby and dilapidated, when Andrew Wyeth strides into her life. Brought to visit by family friend Betsy, who will shortly become his wife, the young painter with the famous father is enchanted by the taciturn, private siblings and their home, eventually using a room in the farmhouse as a studio and painting pictures of both Christina and Al. But the book is not about Wyeth; rather it is about the inspiration for what is arguably his most famous work, so in parallel with the time leading up to his painting Christina's World, the story moves backwards in time to Christina's life growing up, refusing to be the object of pity because of her increasing disability, determined to live life without concessions, and imagining a wider world and more opportunities for herself than are available in her small Maine town. It takes her through the disappointments of her life and draws her as a proud, stubborn, and prickly woman. She and her quiet brother live a hard and lonely life and if that and her increasing disability (perhaps as a result of polio when she was young or perhaps because of the neuropathology of C-M-T disease) toughens her and makes her unforgiving and cantankerous, it is perhaps understandable.Baker Kline has done a marvelous job drawing Christina and the world she lived in. The novel is very much character driven and Christina is not always a likable character. She is flinty, frustrated, and selfish but she's also loyal, smart, and fully realized in these pages. She is betrayed over and over again and just as when she physically trips, she endures the pain, picks herself up, and dusts herself off, refusing to let any one thing level her. The novel has a somber tone throughout most of its pages. The reality of the woman behind the painting was so circumscribed by her disability while her yearning knew no bounds and that bleak and unfulfilled feeling comes through in both the novel and the painting. But the novel is also one of friendship and the deliberate choice to allow people in, as was the case with the Olsons and Wyeth. This isn't a splashy book; it's quiet and deliberate, engrossing in its glimpse into the story behind the picture.
  • (5/5)
    Beautiful and atmospheric, very New England. I was captivated. Historical fiction at its best. After intensive research, the author wrote the story of Christina of the famous Andrew Wyeth painting entitled, "Christina's World". This is an account of Wyeth's relationship to Christina and her brother mainly, and the story of Christina and her family and other people she knew, the generations-old family home in Maine that Christina lived in and Wyeth painted in with great fascination and reverence for the history he found there. Readers will see this famous work of art differently after reading the book. Some of the places and towns in the book are places I visit often when I'm back in Maine. My family has been there for generations, so I understand many things in this story. It's really lovely. Read it if you haven't yet and like this kind of book.
  • (5/5)
    In A Piece of the World, Kline imagines the life of the subject of one of Andrew Wyeth's paintings, Christina's World. My heart broke for proud Christina, crippled at a young age by polio, whose determination not to give into the pains of her failing body leaves her unwilling to accept help or pity but also desperately limited by the path she has chosen. This isn't a cheery book. It's hard to look at a character whose lot in life is often frustration, humiliation, and heartbreak as the able bodied people in her life come and go while she is consigned to a life of difficulty, a life that misses out on so much a "normal" life would offer. Kline's talent in making me care so much for this proud, sometimes selfish, sometimes downright ornery character imprisoned by a world both of her own and her disability's making, is what makes this book shine. A few times during the reading, I found myself worrying over the ending. How can this end without doing a disservice to the character and the rest of the story? How can it end without being too trite or just too depressing? I need not have worried. The ending strikes the most pitch perfect of notes between bitter and sweet, revealing a life that is so much more than the sum of its parts and inspiring that much more love for both the painter and his subject.
  • (4/5)
    A painting a lot of us have seen before. One I never really gave much thought too. From that starting point a story I would never have guessed. I picked this up for my book discussion groups next month and ended up really enjoying it. So much to talk about. I hope my two groups like it!
  • (4/5)
    I've seen the famous painting "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth but never stopped to think that the subject might be a real person. This book is a fictionalized account of that person, Christina Olson, who suffered a crippling disability. In time, she could not walk and had to pull herself across the ground with her elbows - she refused to use a wheel chair and shunned pity and most assistance. She led an isolated, austere life - a life that struck me as both tragic but, in the end, uplifting. This is really a very good book, and I admire the author's desire to illuminate and enlarge our understanding of snippets of history about which we might otherwise know very little.
  • (2/5)
    I went into this with extreme excitement and also extreme apprehension. You see, Christina's World has been my favorite painting since junior high when I came across the painting in a library book. As soon as I saw it for the first time I was overwhelmingly hit with a sense of mystery. Who on earth was that girl? Was there something wrong with her? Why is she sprawled out like she is? What on earth is in that farmhouse? I have also owned a very large print of Christina's World for at least 20 years that still gives me the same sense of mystery every time I look at it. So, did I want to read a fictional account of who Christina was? As I said, I was both excited and apprehensive. Quite honestly, after reading the book, I feel a bit neutral - I feel a bit 2.5 stars about it. While I am sure an amazing amount of research went into it, overall nothing much happens. I think without the painting to draw me along it might have been a book I didn't actually finish. After finishing the book I think I am left more with Andrew Wyeth's extreme talent as an artist rather than a satisfied itch about Christina.
  • (3/5)
    Many are familiar with the iconic painting by the 20th century American painter Andrew Wyeth entitled Christina's World, which depicts a solitary woman lying in a treeless field, face away from the viewer, looking at a barn in the distance. However, you might not know that the model named Christina Olson, befriended by Wyeth, was a historical figure whose entire world was her family's farm situated along the Maine coast. Christina was born with a form of neuropathy which resulted in muscular weakness and atrophy in her adulthood. Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, has written a well-researched historical fiction of Christina's life, who wore leg braces as a child to ambulate but as an adult moved about the farm dragging herself forward using her arms. Although you might believe that this novel would be a depressing read, it was actually a story of a woman who refused to be defined by her handicap. I enjoyed Orphan Train better; however, I enjoyed knowing more about the woman who now lives forever.
  • (4/5)
    This is an engaging book that speculates about the figure in Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth. It centers around Christina Olson, who lived on the farm in Maine featured in the painting with her brothers and parents. At the age of 10, she is stricken with a debilitating illness that leaves her with physical disabilities. Her world becomes the farm and her never-ending chores. She is forced by her parents to give up academic aspirations because she is needed to work on the farm. During her late teens, she is courted by Walton Hall, a Harvard scholar; she eventually gives him her heart, which is later broken in the cruelest, most cowardly way. The book follows Christina through her life as she struggles with loneliness and physical restrictions.Andrew Wyeth is a peripheral character in the book, but the information about him is interesting and seems to correlate with his biographies.
  • (3/5)
    I listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was excellent. I enjoyed the story and the characters, and would definitely recommend it. Especially if you have an appreciation for art and art history. However, for me, there are some books I read that I can't wait to get back to, and this wasn't one of them. I think because, while I did empathize with the characters, I didn't really get drawn into their world. Overall, however, well done.
  • (4/5)
    Knowing the back story of Christina Olson and her role as a muse for Andrew Wyeth, I was eager to read it. It's a historic novel based on the famous painting by Wyeth called "Christina's World". The back story is fascinating and Kline loosely portrays the life of Christina from birth to about age 56 and imagines her thoughts and feelings and her limited interaction with the outside world. The book covers the first 10 years of her friendship with Wyeth, though it continued for another 20 years. The painting is haunting and thought provoking and so is Christina Baker Cline's novel. Kudos.
  • (5/5)
    The fictionalized story of the relationship between Christina Olson and Andrew Wyeth which resulted in the painting "Christina's world".This book grabbed my heart and I would recommend it without reservation. Kline has a wonderful writing style and really fleshes out her characters, including those that are just minor players. It also explains a lot about the painting. Christina is handicapped by a genetic disorder and this rules her life. Although it is present on every page it made me sympathize instead of becoming tired of the topic.Even though this is fiction, the author appends an explanation of the 'real' story and her reasons for writing this book. She did an amazing amount of research and it shows.
  • (5/5)
    A fictionalized version of the story behind Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World" is a wonderful story of a woman who is trapped by her infirm body and trapped by the world she lives in. Christina Olson was born with a crippling disease on the coast of Maine in a home her family had resided for years; yet, she grew up fiercely independent.Living on the coast, the family was basically alone during the harsh winters but surrounded by other families who "summered" in Maine. Through one of those families, Christina meets a young man, Walton, who expresses his devotion to her over the four summers they spend together. Christina's life, however, is shaped by decisions made by others. As her two of her brothers eventually leave, she and her brother Al are left caring for her rigid mother and every increasingly difficult father.This is a story of family dynamics, societal restrictions, and the tug between responsibility and the lure of possibilities. I used to have a framed print of this painting and always found it fascinating; the book is equally so.
  • (5/5)
    4.5 * Andrew Wyeth's mysterious painting Christina's World is brought to life.It was a thought provoking and enlightening experience to walk in the world of Christina Olsonand those near to her.I thoroughly enjoyed this.
  • (3/5)
    I was disappointed---where were we heading with the story of "Christina," the woman in "Andy's" picture? When I reached the end of the CD, read by Polly Stone---and actually the story along the way was very listenable(!)----we are just sort of left at the end...hanging, sadly. Of course you see how the possible escape routes really weren't ever there in the first place and Christina's world gets smaller and smaller---is any of it, or all of it, her fault? Yes, with historical fiction you can go in many directions but this direction just didn't appeal to me.
  • (4/5)
    A beautifully written story by the author of "Orphan Train". The story is about the Christina of Andrew Wyeth's painting, "Christina's World". The tale of a woman with a physical disability and the life that ensues is a poignant, difficult portrait in words. What wpuld it be like to live a life in which one is never seen?
  • (5/5)
    Splendid, immediately engaging, moving and satisfying. Kline creates a compelling and believable story of the Christina from Wyeth's painting, blending historical fact in effortlessly.
  • (3/5)
    I have long loved the work of artists N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth and have made several visits to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA to see their collection. I have yet to visit the Wyeth farm and studios there, but that's on my to do list. So I was quite looking forward to reading A Piece of the World, which creates a life for Christina Olson, the young woman featured in Andrew Wyeth's best known painting, Christina's World. Sadly, I found it disappointing--in a word, dull. While I do enjoy character-driven novels, if the main character isn't likable or at least interesting, it's hard for me to get absorbed by a novel. And I really didn't find much to like or interest me in Christina.The novel jumps back and forth between several different eras, most notably 1917-18, when Christina experiences the great disappointment of her life, and the post-World War II years in which Andrew Wyeth executed a series of paintings of Christina, her brother Al, and their picturesque farm in Cushing, Maine. As others have noted, Wyeth plays a relatively small role in the novel, mainly as a vehicle for illustrating what some would call changes in Christina--although I found her to remain pretty much the same throughout. To me, she came across as a bitter woman who let her disability define her, and although she complained about this (which is, of course, understandable), she stubbornly refused to do anything about it.. After an illness as a young child, Christina's legs became twisted, and her condition worsens throughout her life, to the point where she has to drag herself about by the elbows (since she refused to use a wheelchair). At several points in the novel, well-meaning family and friends try to get her to seek medical attention, but she refuses. By the time she finally lets herself get nagged into a hospital stay, the doctors can't do anything for her. She even turns against a number of friends who have tried to help her. As a young woman, she does befriend some young people who spend the summers in Cushing, but eventually a disappointment--one that friends had tried to warn her was coming--leads her to pretty much isolate herself on the family farm, helping with chores and caring for her parents and brothers. It was a hard life--but one that many other farm women of her day also endured. If there was one moment in the book when I REALLY disliked Christina, it was when she guilted her brother Al, who had given up his own dream of becoming a seaman to keep the family farm running, into dropping his plans to marry. If Christina couldn't be happy, then Al had no right to be either. She apologizes for this later, but it's far too late; the woman Al loved has married someone else.So where does Andrew Wyeth fit into all this? Well, Christina relates to him because he has a limp, which she never fails to mention when she sees him walking towards the farm. She lets him set up a temporary studio on the second floor of the house, and she likes the smell of paint, turpentine, and eggs that emanate from it. He becomes a friend of sorts, offering Christina compliments on her baking, housekeeping, and fortitude, but he is also sometimes brutally frank about her shortcomings. She is appalled by the first portrait of her that he paints, which is realistic but very unflattering, and it is several years before she agrees to pose again for Christina's World.I'm sure that I will be outnumbered by readers who will adore this novel, but it just didn't do much for me.
  • (4/5)
    This was a beautifully written book about someone who spent their entire life in one small piece of the world but left a legacy that has been seen all over the world.Christina Olson is born and lives her entire life in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. When she was young, the house was full of her brothers, her parents and her grandmother. It was a working farm and there were always chores to be done and mischief to get into with her brothers. When she was about 10, she got very sick and was never able to walk well again. Even though her disease was never diagnosed in the book, it appeared to be some type of muscular weakness that progressively got worse. She loved school but when she got to 8th grade, her parents decided that it was time for her to stay home and help with the house. With no electricity or running water, her work was difficult and tedious. When Christina is much older and only she and her brother remain at the farmhouse, which is now run down. Andrew Wyeth, the famous American painter comes to town to visit friends and decided that he want to paint at the farm house. He spends the next 20+ summers painting at the farmhouse in Cushing Maine and the farmhouse and Christine become his muse. She becomes his model for his famous painting "Christina's World".This book is so well written and tells a story about someone that I never knew existed despite the fact that I have seen the painting. Christina's life was centered on her family and her farmhouse and her life of chores despite the constant pain she was in. She was a wonderful well written character and one that I won't soon forget.
  • (5/5)
    An excellent book/memoir about the life of a young woman with a disability and her life in rural Maine.