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The Lady and the Unicorn

by

The Lady and the Unicorn Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Bewitching art experts and enthusiasts alike for centuries, the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries hang today in the Cluny Museum in Paris.

In each, an elegant lady and a unicorn stand or sit on an island of grass surrounded by a rich background of animals and flowers. Little is known about them except that they were woven toward the end of the fifteenth century and bear the coat of arms of a wealthy family from Lyons.

Tracy Chevalier takes readers back to the tapestries' creation, giving life to the men who designed and made them, as well as the wives, daughters, and servants who exercised subtle (and not so subtle) influences over their men. Like the many different strands of wool and silk that were woven together into one cloth, the lives and fates of these people entwine in complex patterns, crisscrossing as they seek desires sensual and spiritual, temporal and eternal.

An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.

Review:

"[T]he genuine drama Chevalier orchestrates...and the deft way she herself weaves together each separate story strand, results in a work of genuine power and beauty." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"The story she weaves is as lush as the tapestries she describes, and her colorful characters leap off the page. A romantic, beautiful book." Booklist

Review:

"Marvelously imagined and sharply constructed, with a good feel for the people and the era: a fascinating portrait of the intersection of life and art." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[N]otable for its human warmth....Chevalier reminds us that art has the power to illuminate the understanding of those who make it as well as those who view it." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"The Lady and the Unicorn lacks the rarefied elegance and the striving after perfection of the tapestries that inspired it. Instead, without coyness, it presents a spirited tableau of a distant age." Times Literary Supplement

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier, returns with a fictional explanation to one of the art world's great masterpieces, the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, and weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry of her own.

Synopsis:

An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Chevalier's "The Lady and the Unicorn" weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.

Synopsis:

A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier’s answer to the mystery behind one of the art world’s great masterpieces—a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that hangs today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown—until now.

Paris, 1490.  A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry—an extraordinary story exquisitely told.

About the Author

Tracy Chevalier, an American originally from Washington, D.C., lives in London with her husband and son.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

bkwrm, September 19, 2010 (view all comments by bkwrm)
Today's daily dose reminded me of this book. Tracy Chevalier writes historical fiction beautifully.
She weaves an unforgettable, endearing and touching love story. She also draws us into a time in history
and teaches us the process that went into weaving the tapestry we see in museums today.
I have a new appreciation for the tapestries and the lives of those that wove them.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
FleurDeMar, August 30, 2009 (view all comments by FleurDeMar)
I just finished reading Tracy Chevalier’s fourth novel, The Lady and the Unicorn. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author. The book was just excellent and if I’d had more time, I’m sure I would have had it finished in a day or two. I like the idea of taking works of art and creating a story about it. It sounds like something I’d like to do myself!

The story revolves around the creation of a set of tapestries. From the family who commissions the work, to the artist who creates the beautiful scenes, to the family who skillfully weaves the paintings into reality, each character puts their own special marking into the tapestries in one way or another. Even the Unicorn’s horn becomes like a character with how Nicolas uses it almost like a pick up line! I really love how the author breaks the chapters down, writing about the lives and experiences of a different character in each chapter. I think that is what made the people more real to me.

The book is rich with period detail and I especially enjoyed reading about the weaving process. But mostly, I fell in the love with the characters (and hated the ones who were meant to be hated). Tracy Chevalier made it easy with her writing style and how she was able to give them each something special that made you remember them. I was able to laugh and cry through triumph and despair with them.

To some, Nicolas des Innocents may have been the lead character in the book, but to me, it was always the tapestries. They seemed to breathe and live and tell the story themselves. Really, my only complaint is that the book wasn’t longer. I was sad to see it end. I’d love to read more about the characters, know what others, not associated with the involved parties, thought of the The Lady and Unicorn, how it made them feel and think.

The book is just an all round good read and I totally recommend it. I can’t wait to read my next Tracy Chevalier book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780452285453
Author:
Chevalier, Tracy
Publisher:
Plume Books
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20041231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.74x5.76x.72 in. .55 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

The Lady and the Unicorn New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Plume Books - English 9780452285453 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[T]he genuine drama Chevalier orchestrates...and the deft way she herself weaves together each separate story strand, results in a work of genuine power and beauty."
"Review" by , "The story she weaves is as lush as the tapestries she describes, and her colorful characters leap off the page. A romantic, beautiful book."
"Review" by , "Marvelously imagined and sharply constructed, with a good feel for the people and the era: a fascinating portrait of the intersection of life and art."
"Review" by , "[N]otable for its human warmth....Chevalier reminds us that art has the power to illuminate the understanding of those who make it as well as those who view it."
"Review" by , "The Lady and the Unicorn lacks the rarefied elegance and the striving after perfection of the tapestries that inspired it. Instead, without coyness, it presents a spirited tableau of a distant age."
"Synopsis" by , New York Times bestselling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels, Tracy Chevalier, returns with a fictional explanation to one of the art world's great masterpieces, the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, and weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry of her own.
"Synopsis" by , An extraordinary story exquisitely told, Chevalier's "The Lady and the Unicorn" weaves history and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry that rivals in grace and grandeur the masterpiece that inspired it.
"Synopsis" by ,

A tour de force of history and imagination, The Lady and the Unicorn is Tracy Chevalier’s answer to the mystery behind one of the art world’s great masterpieces—a set of bewitching medieval tapestries that hangs today in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They appear to portray the seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown—until now.

Paris, 1490.  A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house—mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting—before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries—his finest, most intricate work—on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives—lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

In The Lady and the Unicorn, Tracy Chevalier weaves fact and fiction into a beautiful, timeless, and intriguing literary tapestry—an extraordinary story exquisitely told.

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