The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Monday, May 18, 2015

This book was everywhere last year. That’s probably why I haven’t read it until now, not that I’m trying to be hipster, it’s just that when an author or artist is quite literally blasted everywhere I tend to get a bit fed up. I usually wait and read (or in the case of music, listen to) something else and then when all the raving has quietened down, I sneak in and have a peek without all the outside noise.

Does that make sense?

It makes sense in my mind but then again so does the idea of stannah stairlifts for elderly cats.

Two facts:
  1. I’ve been to Amsterdam and adored the canals and tall townhouses
  2. I’m a sucker for novels with wisps of historical accuracy
  3. The Miniaturist has both
  4. I add things to numbered lists.

The Miniaturist is inspired by Petronella Oortman's dollhouse now at the Rijksmuseum but is not biographical beyond that point. I’ve never been a fan of dolls houses but I used to have a barge for my Sylvanian families and that’s pretty much the same thing, right?

There’s a ton of reviews out there for this book so I won’t harp on. It’s blooming fantastic. I’m glad I waited to read it, as I could really immerse myself in seventeenth century Amsterdam without wondering what Time Out said about it. I only came up for air to tap in my Oyster card. The wealth and social hierarchy of a city so oppressed by religious piety and hypocrisy is outstanding. The writing is authentic and as intricately woven as the tiny plates in protagonist, Nella Brandt’s cabinet dolls house.

I had this barge when I was little. It doesn't float on water as the advert suggested. Luckily my Dad hot-footed it down to the pond just as I was setting it down for its maiden voyage - thanks to Dad this barge is now in our attic and not a playground for newts.

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