Overall Rating and Opinion of "The Miniaturist"

Discuss the February 2015 book of the month, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

How do you rate The Miniaturist?

1 star - poor, recommend against reading it
0
No votes
2 stars - fair, okay
12
32%
3 stars - good, recommend it
20
53%
4 stars - excellent, amazing
6
16%
 
Total votes: 38

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Lisalovecraft
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Re: Overall Rating and Opinion of "The Miniaturist"

Post by Lisalovecraft » 23 Feb 2015, 20:01

I have to agree with some of the above commenters. I got a feeling of, "what was the point of this?" once I finished it. I was zooming through the first few chapters;I wanted to figure out what was going on. That was my favorite part. By the end of the book, I was forcing myself to read. I think the goal of the book was to show the religious oppression, racism, and hypocrisy during this time. However, I did not like any of the characters and I could not relate to the way they acted. Well, I liked Otto and Corneilia. Why was Johannes so reluctant to sell the sugar? Why didn't he lock his door at the VOC? What was the deal with the miniaturist? Was she supposed to have some supernatural power? I did not feel satisfied by the ending at all.
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Post by aelliott6 » 24 Feb 2015, 17:21

I really enjoyed how atmospheric this book was. The strangeness of it stayed with me and I found I was looking forward to continuing reading it. Like other members have said, I think a lot of this was to do with the time frame and setting. I thought it was quite a fresh take on a historical novel. Personally I found Johannes the most interesting character. He was reckless but not motivated by greed, unlike most of the people of power/wealth portrayed in the book, which meant he appeared unique and admirable . In the end, I thought he was a tragic character.

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Post by Lisalovecraft » 25 Feb 2015, 20:48

aelliott6 wrote:I really enjoyed how atmospheric this book was. The strangeness of it stayed with me and I found I was looking forward to continuing reading it. Like other members have said, I think a lot of this was to do with the time frame and setting. I thought it was quite a fresh take on a historical novel. Personally I found Johannes the most interesting character. He was reckless but not motivated by greed, unlike most of the people of power/wealth portrayed in the book, which meant he appeared unique and admirable . In the end, I thought he was a tragic character.

I agree that he was a very tragic figure. He is someone that would just be admired today, and his sexuality would not be an issue!
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Post by Fran » 26 Feb 2015, 10:48

Lisalovecraft wrote:
aelliott6 wrote:I really enjoyed how atmospheric this book was. The strangeness of it stayed with me and I found I was looking forward to continuing reading it. Like other members have said, I think a lot of this was to do with the time frame and setting. I thought it was quite a fresh take on a historical novel. Personally I found Johannes the most interesting character. He was reckless but not motivated by greed, unlike most of the people of power/wealth portrayed in the book, which meant he appeared unique and admirable . In the end, I thought he was a tragic character.

I agree that he was a very tragic figure. He is someone that would just be admired today, and his sexuality would not be an issue!
Regretably in many parts of the world it would still be very much an issue :(
We fade away, but vivid in our eyes
A world is born again that never dies.
- My Home by Clive James

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Post by BookWorm07 » 26 Feb 2015, 12:32

Fran wrote:Regretably in many parts of the world it would still be very much an issue :(
Sadly Fran, you are right. My country is one of those. Last year a law had been passed that makes any sexual act other than a heterosexual one illegal. So now not only is it just frowned upon, anyone who comes out as lgbt can actually be prosecuted. :|
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Post by Lisalovecraft » 26 Feb 2015, 15:33

BookWorm07 wrote:
Fran wrote:Regretably in many parts of the world it would still be very much an issue :(
Sadly Fran, you are right. My country is one of those. Last year a law had been passed that makes any sexual act other than a heterosexual one illegal. So now not only is it just frowned upon, anyone who comes out as lgbt can actually be prosecuted. :|
I'm sorry to hear that. I guess I have been taking for granted the fact I live in a more liberal area. Same sex marriage is legal, and no one I know has to be fearful of talking about their sexuality. It does make the events in The Miniaturist more chilling; the thought that this type of severe social ostracism and punishment can still happen in this day and age.
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Post by nitesh » 26 Feb 2015, 21:26

I would definitely like to read onw

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Post by gali » 26 Feb 2015, 23:10

BookWorm07 wrote:
Fran wrote:Regretably in many parts of the world it would still be very much an issue :(
Sadly Fran, you are right. My country is one of those. Last year a law had been passed that makes any sexual act other than a heterosexual one illegal. So now not only is it just frowned upon, anyone who comes out as lgbt can actually be prosecuted. :|
I am sorry to hear that. Sadly, it is the same in too many countries and people are getting executed for that in those countries. :cry:
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by BookWorm07 » 27 Feb 2015, 04:03

Lisalovecraft wrote:
BookWorm07 wrote:
Fran wrote:Regretably in many parts of the world it would still be very much an issue :(
Sadly Fran, you are right. My country is one of those. Last year a law had been passed that makes any sexual act other than a heterosexual one illegal. So now not only is it just frowned upon, anyone who comes out as lgbt can actually be prosecuted. :|
I'm sorry to hear that. I guess I have been taking for granted the fact I live in a more liberal area. Same sex marriage is legal, and no one I know has to be fearful of talking about their sexuality. It does make the events in The Miniaturist more chilling; the thought that this type of severe social ostracism and punishment can still happen in this day and age.
Yes, Johannes's story is very much plausible even in today's world, especially here in India. I'm glad there are at least some places in this world where such trivial differences in human nature do not make people worthy of hate and execution. :)
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Post by Maria_G » 27 Feb 2015, 04:31

After reading the book and reading all the mixed reviews on The Miniaturist I have to say I found a lot of positives in it, hence I gave it 3 stars. I get what people are saying about the abrupt ending that leaves a lot of un unswered questions, but I doubt that Nella got those questions answered herself. It was "refreshing" to read a book that was so real, as in there were no fake happily ever afters just for the readers satisfaction. This is what would have happened in real life and the author did not sugar coat it. This is one of the things I loved about this book. The Miniaturist in my opinion was the supporting "actor", even if the book was named after it. If you read between the lines you will see that you do get some answers regarding what was behind the miniaturist motives. As for the characters I found then all relatable and tragic. Each battling their own demons and trying to make it through the best way they could. Nella was forced to grow up and mature into a woman in a matter of months. I trully felt for her and the burden she was left to carry.
I liked the authors writing style and at some points my heart ached for each and every one of them.
One thing that Johannes said to Nella was so true, so raw, especially in todays word we live in.

"When you have truly come to know a person, Nella – when you see beneath the sweeter gestures, the smiles – when you see the rage and the pitiful fear which each of us hide – then forgiveness is everything. We are all in desperate need of it"

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Post by rosmith » 27 Feb 2015, 11:58

I would give the miniaturist a 2

I loved the setting and the tension surrounding social conventions of the day. I also enjoyed the evolution of characters and the internal struggles that each of the faced. But, there were a lot if things that weren't 'tied' up at the end. Especially the identity and purpose of the miniaturist. Maybe more parallel stories showing the impact of her actions on other lives? I also would have expected that there would have been some sort of major event that solidified Nella's role as a strong woman of the house. Maybe a better decision point. I felt like there was some of that. But, nothing that 'brought it home'.

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Post by Bubamdk2 » 28 Feb 2015, 03:19

I just finished this book and absolutely loved it. I think that Jessie Burton did a superb job writing this, her first, novel. The imagery was so realistic to me that I felt as if I were there - watching, hearing, smelling, listening - to it all personally. I strongly believe that upon finishing the book, the reader almost has an abligation to go back and re-read the first chapter of the book - as the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. I almost think that Ms. Burton did that on purpose - placing the last chapter first in the book. It signifies that all endings have new beginnings and vise versa. After I re-read the first chapter, then I felt a bit of a conclusion; although, in a situation like Nella's can there ever be a conclusion. Many secretsa and mysteries were revealed, but Nella has plenty more to keep, doesn't she. Her future is still uncertain. I am almost hoping for a sequel to this novel so that more story could be told. Ms. Burton's writing was amazingly brilliant and her story mezmorizing. I can't wait to see what else she dreams up for me to read....

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Post by Lisalovecraft » 28 Feb 2015, 10:32

Bubamdk2 wrote: I strongly believe that upon finishing the book, the reader almost has an abligation to go back and re-read the first chapter of the book - as the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. I almost think that Ms. Burton did that on purpose - placing the last chapter first in the book. It signifies that all endings have new beginnings and vise versa. After I re-read the first chapter, then I felt a bit of a conclusion; although, in a situation like Nella's can there ever be a conclusion.

Thank you! After reading this, I went back and reread the first chapter! I don't know how I missed that this was the ending. I do think that is provides some more closure, and agree with your assessment that all endings have new beginnings.
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Post by rosmith » 28 Feb 2015, 15:48

Bubamdk2 wrote:I just finished this book and absolutely loved it. I think that Jessie Burton did a superb job writing this, her first, novel. The imagery was so realistic to me that I felt as if I were there - watching, hearing, smelling, listening - to it all personally. I strongly believe that upon finishing the book, the reader almost has an abligation to go back and re-read the first chapter of the book - as the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning. I almost think that Ms. Burton did that on purpose - placing the last chapter first in the book. It signifies that all endings have new beginnings and vise versa. After I re-read the first chapter, then I felt a bit of a conclusion; although, in a situation like Nella's can there ever be a conclusion. Many secretsa and mysteries were revealed, but Nella has plenty more to keep, doesn't she. Her future is still uncertain. I am almost hoping for a sequel to this novel so that more story could be told. Ms. Burton's writing was amazingly brilliant and her story mezmorizing. I can't wait to see what else she dreams up for me to read....
I would love to read a sequel. As you say, there is really more to tell. I will take your suggestion and re-read the first chapter.

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Post by Ryan » 07 Mar 2015, 13:12

I think I'll give this a go. It's in our local library, so if I don't like it I haven't wasted my money. Maybe over the summer ...
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