I finished the book last week and thought it was not as great as everyone said… then caught the movie yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those rare examples of a book and a movie so enhancing each other that the complete story would be lost if they were not both experienced.
The movie leaves a lot out. There’s no brother, no mention of the father’s trade or how he became blind, no reason given for the girl’s having to become a maid, and (perhaps most importantly) no explanation given for the gift of the pearls at the end. I can see a lot of unanswered questions in this film, and understand why it is considered to be only a 3-star movie. It is, however, a beautiful film with very artistic direction… I watched it twice and I’m sure I’ll watch it again.
The book is slow going, and lacks much of the scenery and character detail that was shown in the movie. It also glossed over the sexual tension between the maid and her master; tension which was depicted wonderfully in the movie. Though it started out very s l o w l y , and I was tempted to quit reading about 3 times, I kept going. As it turned out, the last 50 or so pages were the best so I’m glad I didn’t give up.
At any rate, it’s always interesting to see into the lives of artists and Tracy Chevalier does a good job of providing insight… even if just from her own imagination.