The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton


 Book of the Month

The Miniaturist is a delightful novel that the author has envisioned to be a sensitive piece of literature. It touches on a wide range of topics, such as Amsterdam once upon a time acting as the shipping hub of the world, and a caged emerald green parakeet, which is as intriguing, as it is beautiful. Jesse Burton is a brilliant young author, who I must say I have found very interesting because she is not one to mince her words.

If anyone is rude to her, she does more than just remember: she thinks hard thoughts, like how easy it is to forget the pretty moments you spend with your friends but not the cruelty that some snide remarks from some women are almost out to derail your day. I’ve heard there is great beauty in not letting go, but should we take this snideness under it’s wing? Probably not a good idea!

A little bit like, in the real world, there are never any enthusiastic publishers ringing you to get your book published, because he has heard from the grapevine you are looking to get published. This book has been selected as the Waterstones Book of the Year 2014 and revolves around the life of an eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman, who arrives in Amsterdam, with her vibrant parakeet. The year is 1686, and she has left the countryside after her marriage.

She is wed off to a wealthy merchant trader, Johannes Brandt, and the two share a very romantic but troubled relationship because of his sister, Marin, who I might as well say it out loud: doesn’t hold her tongue, in any presence whatsoever. Her husband gifts her a cabinet-sized model of their home, that is furnished by a miniaturist, whose world holds many dark secrets.


Nella is fascinated by the Brandt household and how it’s doors are always closed to her, but as she embarks on an exploratory mission, she uncovers dangers lurking at every corner. It seems to unravel that the gifted miniaturist holds their fate in the palm of his hands, but Nella doesn’t know how to navigate around the world, and is afraid of the steps to take because she doesn’t want to rise as the person, who made the wealthy house fall, and is unsure if she really is the missing key to their survival.

She has to solve a lot of riddles beginning with the one involving the miniaturist and how he knows this much about herself and her new home? Nella is a headstrong feminist, who views the cabinet with some trepidation because to her it resembles a trademark of her controlled sense of place as a bright, young woman.

The book is so gripping, your coffee might get cold, when you start to read it. The marriage is borne out of an arrangement, rather than love but more exciting than that is 17th Century Netherlands and its people. During this turn of the century, people eat their sugar in secret, are not permitted to own any dolls, or anything that remotely resembles human beings, or how the city is still relatively safer and nothing like the darkest days of Victorian London.


About Osmi Anannya

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