The Miniaturist by Burton ***SPOILERS***

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wernoclue
Joined: 03 Feb 2005, 01:08

04 Nov 2014, 19:40 #1

LOL  Well, since I haven't started, I obviously don't have any spoilers yet!  But hopefully someone will soon!
Karen
“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more” – Patricia A. McKillip
  
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wernoclue
Joined: 03 Feb 2005, 01:08

08 Nov 2014, 07:13 #2

Well, well, well... Just finished. Quite the series of events. Beautifully written. Loved the historical stuff -- at the end there's a listing of what things cost and how much people were paid and such during that time period.

It's one of those books that I almost want to go back to the beginning and start all over again to see if I pick up on some of the things that finally happen. Were there hints? Little bits I missed?

What a wonderful thing to live in the this time instead of that one! We think there are inhumane situations now but, really, the lack of humanity shown all the way around in those days, mostly in the name of religion, is pretty horrifying from this vantage point.
Karen
“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more” – Patricia A. McKillip
  
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murraymint11
Joined: 06 Dec 2005, 19:42

10 Nov 2014, 13:14 #3

I really enjoyed this book. The narration was good and the story engaging, with a nice sense of atmosphere depicting Amsterdam in the 17th century. Some of the twists I guessed, others not; Johanne's homosexuality came as a surprise, as did Marin's pregnancy, but once I learned of the latter I guessed the baby's father straight away.
But what was the point of the Miniaturist? I did find it difficult to get my head around her character/role ; a case of suspending disbelief for a small amount of woo-woo which didn't seem to have a resolution...



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wernoclue
Joined: 03 Feb 2005, 01:08

10 Nov 2014, 17:28 #4

Absolutely, Jane! I liked the book, did see the homosexuality angle coming -- seems like I've seen that a LOT in the past couple of years but don't ask me where -- was surprised by the pregnancy AND by the father. The 17th century historical detail was fantastic, if terrifying! Image

But I found myself wondering the next day: what was the point of the miniaturist? Was the cabinet -- and the miniaturist -- just something the author used as a hook? She'd have been better off without it because, as it is, that's the only aspect I question the relevance of.

Mostly I'm just ignoring that part.
Karen
“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more” – Patricia A. McKillip
  
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murraymint11
Joined: 06 Dec 2005, 19:42

10 Nov 2014, 22:07 #5

Yes, me too. The rest was great!



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bayjoens
Joined: 25 Aug 2004, 07:51

14 Nov 2014, 06:24 #6

I just finished a few minutes ago and agree with all of you; the whole plot device of the miniaturist seemed unnecessary. She didn't add to the story and didn't even seem properly "whoo whoo" enough. I think she was just extremely observant and obsessive. Why was she staring at Nella in the beginning? Was she in hiding because Frans had set the authorities on her? When he was telling Nella about Agnes's obsession and how he was having her arrested, he kept referring to the miniaturist as "he", meaning that Frans didn't know the artist was a woman? And was she the narrator of the prologue? Whose funeral was it, Marin's or Johannes's? If it was his, why did someone say, "No body to bury..." "They're not bringing him back up."

I guessed Johannes's secret right away and also suspected who was the baby's father when I read about Marin's pregnancy. I liked this book but I don't think I liked it as much as some of you did. There was definitely detail but it felt more superficial to me. Maybe I need to let it marinate in my head for a few more days.
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wernoclue
Joined: 03 Feb 2005, 01:08

14 Nov 2014, 07:15 #7

Ack, you've reminded me that I didn't go back and re-read the prologue as I intended to so I'm not sure who it was!
Karen
“The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more” – Patricia A. McKillip
  
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murraymint11
Joined: 06 Dec 2005, 19:42

14 Nov 2014, 08:47 #8

I'm sure it was Marins funeral, Sandra.



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dlee10
Joined: 02 Feb 2005, 02:54

15 Nov 2014, 03:51 #9

I have finally finished a book ahead of schedule. I'm sure the funeral was Marin's for 2 reasons. One is that Nella bribed the minister to bury her in the corner of the church and the other is that Johannes' body wasn't retrieved. I guessed Johannes secret from his introduction. I also figured out who Marin's babies' father was fairly quickly. That didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book. I liked the way it was written and the setting. I thought Nella seemed older than 18 but perhaps it is simply that 18 would have behaved older during that time period. I'm with the rest of you when it comes to the miniaturist herself though. I don't know why the author chose to use her. It didn't seem necessary to have that bit of sub par woo woo in the story. The book could have simply progressed on it's own. Usually, the title character has more of a role. In this case, the miniaturist was an unknown the whole way through. Even th her father and his explanation was unsatisfactory for me. She left me irritated. Of course, I was crying by the end anyway. I kept hoping that Johannes would escape. Or perhaps the miniaturist could prove actually useful and rescue him somehow.
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bayjoens
Joined: 25 Aug 2004, 07:51

15 Nov 2014, 15:39 #10

Now that makes sense, that it was Marin's funeral. Thanks everyone!

I think I also had a problem with Johannes. He is a 40-year-old gay man, living in a world where he could be brutally drowned for who he is. So he has sex in his office without locking the door and then right on the street? And his young wife just happens to walk in and his worst enemy happens to see him on the street? He might be gay but that doesn't mean that gay men have sex constantly and whenever they are out of the sight of their friends and family. Yet he cares enough about his life to make a run for it when they are coming for him?
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