I am fascinated by the art and lives of the Wyeth clan, so I figured A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline would be an interesting read. And it was but perhaps not in the way I expected.
Although to be fair, not having read any of the author’s previous work, I was unsure what to expect. But my interest in Wyeth drove my interest in the book. In the end, however, I found it an interesting read mostly because of the hardscrabble life of Maine that it captured less than for any connection to Andrew Wyeth and the famous painting.
Sure, Kline seeks to make a connection between the life of the women in the painting and the painting itself. And there is an argument to be made that capturing something true about Christina is what made the painting so powerful. So in capturing Christina’s life, Kline argues we understand more about the power of the art.
But the literary art, in my opinion, comes from describing the unique world of post war Maine; a family scrapping out a living in the often unforgiving, but often beautiful, landscape; dreaming of escape and adventure but finding themselves trapped in a house as the world changes around them.
A Piece of the World offers interesting insights into the intersection of fate and family, class and relationships, disability and freedom while it attempts to recreate the relationship between the famous artist and perhaps his most famous subject.
Obviously not a thriller but an well done historical novel with an enigmatic and fascinating subject as a touch point.