Beginning in 1939, "Andy" Wyeth, peassionate about painting, spends summers practicing his art at a Maine farmhouse, where 46 year-old Christina Olson and her brother, Al, have always lived. Christina, mostly a recluse due to her crippled body, looks forawrd to these summers and doesn't see Andy's taking over her house as an intrusion. A story of Christina's determination to lead a normal life, this details the setbacks of her disappointments, as well as the conquering of her greatest challenges. Her familiar face in the famous Wyeth paintings finally has a back story, which makes those gorgeous portraits only richer!
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.
“The novel evokes the somber grace of [Wyeth’s] paintings … Christina’s yearning, her determination, her will to dream, occupy the emotional center in both the novel and the painting. A Piece of the World is a story for those who want the mysterious made real.”
“Another winner from the author of Orphan Train. In this beautifully observed fictional memoir, Kline uses Andrew Wyeths’ iconic painting Christina’s World as the taking-off point for a moving portrait of the artist’s real-life muse. Book of the week.”
“Fans of Kline’s phenomenal 2013 best seller Orphan Train will recognize the way the new novel...brings to vivid life a little-known corner of history...Avoiding sentimental uplift, A Piece of the World offers unsparing insight into the real woman behind the painting.”
“The novel provides gorgeous, complicated answers to all the questions the painting stirs, beginning with the day a young painter appears on her porch. Kline has created a memorable and unforgettable voice for Anna Christina Olson, the girl in the field.”
“Kline herself is an artist, drawing on the real history of Christina Olson and Andrew Wyeth to conjure up her own haunting portrait.... Kline’s deep research into characters, place, and time period provides the outlines of a compelling story, which she then expertly brings into three dimensions.”
“Like Wyeth’s paintings, this is a vivid novel about hardscrabble lives and prairie grit and the seemingly small but significant beauties found there.”
“Artfully (pun intended) inspired by the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina’s World.”
“Absorbing...A portrait of Maine farm life, of an iron-willed spinster with polio and the accidental friendship that changes everything...Kline has a graceful, arresting style that lifts the narrative, and her portrayal of Andy leavens the entire story.”
“With beautiful and stunning prose, the novel explores the sensitive and complex bond between artist and muse against the beauty of the rural American landscape.”
“Christina Baker Kline’s remarkable novel, A PIECE OF THE WORLD, is the perfect book club pick. An evocative, beautifully written, exquisitely researched historical novel that will both teach and enthrall the reader. A must read for anyone who love history and art. ”
“Kline’s portrait of her main character is moving in an unsentimental way as she evokes the New England landscape, the torment of crippling disease, and the piece of history embodied in Olson’s story.”
“With delicate palette, stark images, subtle tones, nuanced brushstrokes, and consummate craftsmanship, Christina Baker Kline has written this novel the way Andrew Wyeth painted the canvas. It is a masterpiece.”
“A novel about not just art, but family and home — things that last, and what it takes for them to do so.”
“[Kline’s] insightful, evocative prose brings Christina’s singular perspective and indomitable spirit to life.”
“Superb...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....Gentle and profound, A Piece of the World shows the healing power of simple, unexpected friendship.”
“Baker Kline clearly has done her research on the Olson family, but it is her empathy and imagination that make this book sing....Like the woman in the Wyeth painting, the Christina Olson of this novel is unbowed, confounding, and ultimately inspiring.”
“A gorgeous read.”
“Kline’s gift is to dispense with the fustiness and fact-clogged drama that can weigh down some historical novels to tell a pure, powerful story of suffering met with a fight. In fiction, in her quiet way, Christina triumphs - and so does this novel.”
“Skillfully interweaving fact and fiction, Kline creates a starkly lovely, intricately layered portrait...By turns profoundly sad and deeply hopeful.”
With remarkable precision and compassion, A PIECE OF THE WORLD transports us to a mid-century farmhouse on the coast of Maine. But just like the painting that inspired it, this gorgeous novel is about so much more. Heartbreaking and life-affirming.”
“Andrew Wyeth’s celebrated painting Christina’s World has her back to the viewer, but Kline turns her to face the reader, simultaneously equipping her with a back story and a lyrical voice...A character portrait that is painterly, sensuous, and sympathetic.”
“A graceful, moving and powerful demonstration of what can happen when a fearless literary imagination combines with an inexhaustible curiosity about the past and the human heart.”
“The inscrutable figure in the foreground of Wyeth’s Christina’s World is our American Mona Lisa, and Christina Baker Kline has pulled back the veil to imagine her rich story. Tender [and] tragic.”
“A brilliantly imagined fictional memoir of the woman in the famed Wyeth painting ‘Christina’s World,’ so detailed, moving, and utterly transportive that I’ll never be able to look at the painting again without thinking of this book and the characters who populate its pages.”
“Kline expertly captures the essence of Wyeth’s iconic masterpiece and its real-life subject, crafting a moving work of historical fiction
“Readers will savor the quotidian details that compose Christina’s ‘quiet country life.’ Orphan Train was a best-seller and popular book-discussion choice, so expect demand.”-
“Fantastic and touching.”
“Who has not gazed on Wyeth’s picture and wondered, why does that girl have so very far to go?... A pure, powerful story of suffering met with a fight. In fiction, in her quiet way, Christina triumphs--and so does this novel.”