If you’re reading this, my hope is that you’ve read The Miniaturist and are ready to have a little chat about how crazy this novel was. Here are my thoughts. I’d love to read yours so please comment below.
First, I had no idea it would be so scandalous (Jack Philips and Johanne! What?!). There were so many plot twists and surprises along the way, making it almost impossible to put down every night. But, the biggest question I was left with was about the Miniaturist herself. There was only that brief explanation in the end, when Nella meets her father that semi explains her role but was she really just a meddler and a stalker or did she actually have psychic or prophetic abilities? I mean, did the dog really have a red mark on his head or did Nella imagine that? And, if it did, how in the world could the miniaturist have known that? Anyone care to explain?
Beyond the mysterious nature of the novel, I was moved by Burton’s perspective on the social pressures that faced all of the characters. No one was immune, least of all, the rich. Amsterdam in 1686 was dramatically different than the Amsterdam I visited in 2003 but I can picture the same architecture and intertwining canals giving way to an unfriendly and rigorous lifestyle, especially for women (Jews–Anne Frank..?). What a treacherous way to live your life, huh? If Marin had lived in present day, happiness would have been a real possibility for her and Otto. Alas, that’s the point of the story; to transport us to a place and time where things were so different from what we are used to, yet somehow mirror many of the same predicaments that we all face today. I’m sure this book speaks to everyone differently, so please, if you have anything to share, comment below!
I also find it inspiring that the author is only one year older than me and somehow produced a novel that is compelling, historically rich and suspenseful. It makes me proud of what women of my generation are contributing to the literary world and hopeful that we will give generations after us plenty of thought-provoking material to keep them thinking and evolving in big ways.
Thanks for joining in and stay tuned for the November selection of the Happy Handful book club!