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اثر کریستینا بیکر کلاین از انتشارات ستاک - مترجم: فائقه حیدری-داستان تاریخی

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.

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@I wanted to show.......both the desire and the [email protected]

You know it well. Its the famous painting by Andrew Wyeth in which a young girls image is set within the Maine landscape of house, of barn, and of an ocean of endless grass. Wyeth seems to reveal nothing as he casts her likeness from behind. Yet, her thinly posed arms are stretched outward in familiar motion. This is, indeed, Christinas World.

Generation after generation of the Hathorne clan have lived and farmed on this plot of land in the small rural town of Cushing, Maine. History and family lore tell us about the original familys journey from Massachusetts to leave behind the dark pall of the Salem witch trials. Living on the coast of Maine brings with it death and drownings and the lack of a male heir. The Hathornes have been @daughtered [email protected] until Christinas mother marries a Swedish sailor who happened to be iced in during a terrible storm. Change steps in and with it comes the reference to the now @Olson [email protected]

Christina suffers through relentless fevers that affect her muscles and mobility as a child. We pull back the curtain and experience the first episodes of Christinas stubbornness laced with the clutches of fear. Her father bundles her up and takes her on a long journey to a doctor who may be able to help her. Christina refuses to even subject herself to examination. The stage is now set and the spotlight focuses on her lifetime as a solo act no matter how many move in cadence alongside her.

The artist, Andrew Wyeth, and his young wife, Betsy, become taken with the land that Christina and her brothers own. Christina invites more than just two unexpected individuals into this world of hers. He and Betsy weave in and out of the storyline as he creates his renowned painting. Wyeth, although not the main focus here, has a jagged backstory as well.

Christina Baker Kline presents a splendid perspective on the life of Christina Olson. Kline opens the window within and shines light on the thought that there is much complication, depth, and intensity to a life even in the most simple of environments and surroundings. What appears on the surface of oils and canvas or classrooms or church pews or back seats on buses are voiceless souls seeking a word of validation. Kline reveals that complexity through Christina.

Beautifully written, A Piece of the World speaks of simpler times. But in actuality, the progression of time reveals but one thing......the desire to matter and the desire to make a difference one day at a time.

مشاهده لینک اصلی

@What she wants most - what she truly yearns for - is what any of us want: to be [email protected]

Christina Olson lived her life mostly as a shut in, born with a degenerative disease that will take the use of her legs in childhood. The famous painter Andrew Wyeth befriends her, and will use her home and land to paint some of his most famous works, including the painting that now resides in the Museum of Modern Art, @Christinas [email protected]

A story told through Christinas eyes as she bravely deals with the hardships of her disease and the effects it takes on her life. She was a strong and determined woman, who through the progression of her disease would use just her arms to pull herself along the floor. I was obviously heartbroken for her, but as the story progressed I became frustrated with her inability to accept help, as she even declined a wheelchair and the way she treated her family and friends.

This was a very intriguing and well researched story that historical fiction readers and art enthusiasts will enjoy. For those of us who like to know the background or @[email protected] of a particular piece, Christina Baker Kline writes an in depth story about Wyeth and Christinas friendship and how the painting came into fruition. I will never be able to view @Christinas [email protected] again without thinking back to this novel.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
“LATER HE TOLD ME 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. Faraway windows, opaque and unreadable. Ruts in the spiky grass made by an invisible vehicle, leading nowhere. Dishwater sky.”

So begins this novel by Christina Baker Kline. The painting she refers to is “Christina’s World” (1948) by eminent artist Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). The thought quoted above is expressed by the fictional Christina Olson, the main character of the novel. Her character is based on Anna Christina Olson (1893-1968), the subject of the painting, whose family lived in Cushing, Maine. The house in which they lived which is shown in the painting now belongs to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. Her maternal ancestors (the author Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of these relatives) had left Salem, Massachusetts as a result of the notorious witch trials (1692-1693), and they resettled in Maine.

Olson House (Wikipedia*)

The plot focuses on Christina’s life, her hopes, her dreams, her thoughts and feelings. The author imagines what Christina’s life might have been. The real Christina suffered from a degenerative disease that is now thought to have been Charcot-Marie-Tooth, and so does the fictional Christina. This is a main factor in the novel, as the debilitating disease affected every aspect of her life. From the pages of the book emerges a character who is hard-working, fiercely independent, stubborn, a young woman who shares the hopes and dreams of her peers. However, due to her handicap she faces many challenges, and she comes to resent people she suspects of being sorry for her. She often feels that she is being judged, and in the process she sometimes becomes judgmental herself. She feels trapped in her body and trapped by her life on the farm. She is angered and frustrated by people who pity her, who deliver dinners and who generally intrude in her life and thoughts. She is often brusque to the point of being plain rude. She yearns to simply be accepted for who she is. She just wants to be, and not to be talked about. And she fears losing her independence and having to become reliant on others.

It is Andrew Wyeth, the artist married to her young friend Betsy, whose artist eyes see the real Christina: “People are always concerned about you, worried about you, watching to see how you’re getting on. Well-meaning, of course, but—intrusive.” Of him she says: “Andy doesn’t usually bring anything, or offer to help. He doesn’t register alarm at the way we live. He doesn’t see us as a project that needs fixing. He doesn’t perch on a chair, or linger in a doorway, with the air of someone who wants to leave, who’s already halfway out the door. He just settles in and observes.” And it is Andy who paints her as he sees her. ““You showed what no one else could see,” I tell him.”

The Painting
This is what the author writes about “Christina’s World” in her Authors Note:
“In Wyeth’s painting she is resolute and yearning, hardy and vulnerable, exposed and enigmatic. Alone in a sea of dry grass, she is the archetypal individual against a backdrop of nature, fully present in the moment and yet a haunting reminder of the immensity of time. As MoMA curator Laura Hoptman writes in Wyeth: Christina’s World, “The painting is more a psychological landscape than a portrait, a portrayal of a state of mind rather than a place.””

Christina’s World (Wikipedia**)

This painting is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

Here is what the fictional Christina thinks of the painting (between spoiler tags):(view spoiler)[
“There she is, that girl, on a planet of grass. Her wants are simple: to tilt her face to the sun and feel its warmth. To clutch the earth beneath her fingers. To escape from and return to the house she was born in.”

“This is a girl who has lived through broken dreams and promises. Still lives. Will always live on that hillside, at the center of a world that unfolds all the way to the edges of the canvas. Her people are witches and persecutors, adventurers and homebodies, dreamers and pragmatists. Her world is both circumscribed and boundless, a place where the stranger at the door may hold a key to the rest of her life.
What she wants most—what she truly yearns for—is what any of us want: to be seen.
And look. She is.”

(hide spoiler)]

*By lcm1863 - originally posted to Flickr as ME18 Olson House, Maine, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index...

**By http://www.moma.org/collection/object..., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?...

مشاهده لینک اصلی
4.5 stars. I loved The Orphan Train and, happily, I enjoyed this just as much. Christinas World is a work of art that has been made more special to me after learning the story behind it. I dont know that I particularly liked Christina, but at the same time I felt a deep connection to her. We can all be tied to anchores and while some are able to pull themselves free, others let it pull them under. I think in the end Christina found her world and, I hope through it all a bit of contentment. My recommendation... grab a blanket, a cup of tea and enjoy this beautifully poignant novel.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Born in 1893, Christina Olson became ill at a young age, and from that day forward, her debilitating illness continued unabated. Doctors had no idea what was wrong with her, but over the years she continued to get worse. Her life was centred around the home she’d been born in – the family farm in Cushing, Maine. Christina lived with her mother, father and grandmother plus three brothers, and the duties of keeping the farm running increasingly fell on her shoulders. Made to leave school by her father at twelve years of age, Christina’s yearning to become a teacher fell by the wayside at her father’s demand that she was needed on the farm…

When Christina was forty-six, she lived with her brother Alvaro on the farm, and through her friend Betsy, she met a young Andrew Wyeth. Andy was an artist and his desire to paint and sketch Christina’s home led to him spending days on end upstairs, engrossed in his work. His eventual painting of Christina, which was named Christina’s World was much against her wishes – but Andy by that time was a good friend; little was she to know how well-known that painting would become. Over the years, Christina became Andy’s inspiration – she felt that finally, someone understood her.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline is a beautiful blend of fiction and non-fiction about Christina Olson’s life, and the inspirational and historical painting by Andrew Wyeth called Christina’s World. The Author’s Note at the end of the book is fascinating where she explains how she came to research and write this novel. She says “Ultimately, A Piece of the World is a work of fiction. Above all else, I hope I have done this story justice.” And to my mind Ms Kline, you most certainly have. A thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable read which I highly recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital copy to read and review.

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