From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World — available now.
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.
As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.
Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.
“A Piece of the World is a graceful, moving and powerful demonstration of what can happen when a fearless literary imagination combines with an inexhaustible curiosity about the past and the human heart: a feat of time travel, a bravura improvisation on the theme of art history, a wonderful story that seems to have been waiting, all this time, for Christina Baker Kline to come along and tell it.” —Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
“The inscrutable figure in the foreground of Wyeth’s Christina’s World is our American Mona Lisa, and Christina Baker Kline has pulled back the veil to imagine her rich story. Tender, tragic, A Piece of the World is a fascinating exploration of the life lived inside that house at the top of the hill.” —Lily King, author of Euphoria
“With A Piece of the World, Baker Kline gives us a brilliantly imagined fictional memoir of the woman in the famed Wyeth painting, Christina’s World, so detailed, moving, and utterly transportive that I’ll never be able to look at the painting again without thinking of this book and the characters who populate its pages.” —Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake
“With remarkable precision and compassion, A Piece of the World transports us to a mid-century farmhouse on the coast of Maine. But just like the painting that inspired it, this novel is about so much more. It’s about the terrors and injustices of childhood, the aches of adulthood, the regrets of middle age. It’s a story about a woman trapped by family and duty and her own ailing body. It’s a book about the façades we erect despite our desire to be seen. This is a novel that does what Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting does: it renders a whole universe of love and longing inside a seemingly simple scene. By focusing on this one particular piece of the world, Christina Baker Kline has accomplished something grand. This is a gorgeous novel, both heartbreaking and life-affirming.” —Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“Kline’s new novel is inspired by Christina Olson, the woman in Andrew Wyeth’s best-known painting, Christina’s World. Christina, who lives in the house built by her ancestors in Cushing, Maine, has been left off-kilter from a childhood illness. Her bones and joints deteriorate over the years, and her dreams of escape end when a four-year relationship with a Harvard student ends. One day Wyeth, who spends his summers nearby, asks to use their house as a studio to paint. He and Christina have an instant bond, and she, her brother Al, and the house become constant themes in his work over the decades. “Sometimes a sanctuary, sometimes a prison, that house on the hill has always been my home,” Baker writes in this beautifully rendered portrait of a woman’s interior life.” —Jane Ciabattari, BBC News