Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting, Christina’s World, has always fascinated me. The image of a girl in a pale pink dress crawling through a field of grass toward a distant house on the horizon raised a number of speculations. The answer to those speculations are answered in this wonderful piece of historical fiction. The author has painstakingly reconstructed the life of the actual Christina and her world. Here, we also get glimpses of Andrew Wyeth, the man behind his art.
There is a fine comparison between the life of an isolated girl and that of an artist who spends hours alone with his work. But it is Christina herself who emerges as a complex woman-girl who desires love but is incapacitated by a debilitating illness. In many ways, Christina is as stubborn and as enduring as the generations old home she is irrevocably tied to.
A Piece of the World is a wonderful accounting of the life and times of Christina Olson. It is rich in detail and pathos. The reader is immediately immersed in Christina’s world, the unending labor of farm life and the heartbreaking details of thwarted love.