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The Lady and the Unicorn

Posted - Mar. 1, 2004 at 8:14 a.m.



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The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

I felt like this book was brought to me slowly and uneasily, as if a young girl were carrying a too-full pitcher of milk across a carpeted floor in front of grownups. It is beautiful - yes - and mysterious and naughty, but a little off balance.

The Lady and the Unicorn is the story behind the six tapestries of that name that hang in the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris. Much like her earlier bestseller "Girl With a Pearl Earring," now made into a beautiful movie starring Scarlet Johanson, The Lady and the Unicorn is the back-story of these works of art - who made them, why, how it affected their lives. This is such an interesting mechanism - creating beautiful fiction to match the mystery of famous art - and Chevalier does it in period voice so convincingly.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Lady and the Unicorn is how each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character. We see these people so differently when we can hear their thoughts, and then in the next chapter their husband's thoughts about them. The weaving together of the characters' voices seems to match the weaving of wool into these magnificent tapestries.

This is a period piece, and a little saucy at that, so not for everyone - but I enjoyed it. Tracy Chevalier's latest bestseller is The Lady and the Unicorn - and yes - it would also make a beautiful movie. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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