Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.
Have you ever read something that reminds you of your own life in general or a specific experience in your past? That's how I felt after reading this very interesting story.
We're first introduced to a young woman, who, in her own words, tells us a little bit about her life and her current living situation in Washington, DC. She discusses her office job (government, of course) and how she strives to keep boundaries between her work life and her personal life. We later learn that her given name is Laura (which she refers to as her "work name"), until a few paragraphs later when called on by one of her roommates, Thea, during breakfast. Like Laura, Thea is a counterculture kind of gal, though, unlike Laura, she wouldn't be caught dead working in an office. They live in a punk house, after all, and they have a reputation to maintain. I love that Laura goes by a different name in the house, one I never would've guessed.
Fast forward to the moment when Laura, while perusing her daily newspaper, spots an announcement of an upcoming art exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, featuring her favorite girl, the one with the pearl earring. She just cannot miss this event, and she figures out a way to make it there during the only time available for free tickets - in the middle of a workday. She somehow manages to drag Thea, who doesn't care about art, with her, and the rest of the story chronicles their trek to the Smithsonian and the effect that seeing this art masterpiece in person has on them.
I could relate to Laura as I also lived in Washington, DC during my younger years, although I was in the Army at the time. I did, however, also work at a government office during the week and would hit as many Smithsonian museums and galleries as I could during the weekends. I walked a lot around DC and took the Metro (part of the storyline) many, many times. I loved my time in DC, and if I could return to the city and make a home there, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
This is a very nice story, and I thought it was well-written. However, there were two plot points that seemed to conflict, in my opinion. Early in the story, Laura tells us the Smithsonian is a short walk from her house, but later we see her and Thea take the Red Line (Metro) train for three stops until they reach the Mall. I took the Red Line all the time when I lived in DC, and I don't remember the stations being very close, so a distance of three train stops doesn't seem to qualify as a "short walk". Maybe things have changed since I left. All in all, however, this was a good read and I enjoyed it very much. I was actually curious to know more about Laura and Thea, and I wouldn't mind reading more about them.
I didn't get what I was expecting when I read the blurb for this, but to be fair I still got something I enjoyed very much. The blurb does pretty much explain exactly what happens in this story, and whilst it's a good story - it was the writing, the language, and the nostalgia that made this enjoyable for me.
It doesn't make me nostalgic for the exact time period, I wasn't old enough personally, but it did make me nostalgic for my own teenage years and early twenties with my similar experiences. Laura - or Elvis - as she's known more affectionately - is a punk with a government job. She hangs up the punk clothes on one side of her wardrobe, to be usurped by a typical office wardrobe during the day. She loves her punk lifestyle and friends, but she also loves art, the newspaper, and other mainstream culture. She doesn't fit anywhere and that's ok.
I did enjoy the language and the writing and I'll definitely be seeking out more of Foster's work - especially the non-fiction.
3.5 stars. I don’t read short stories very often, but I was intrigued by the synopsis of ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’. Set in the 90’s in a punk environment, a trans girl as a main character and classic art, an interesting combination.
I enjoyed the writing style and the highlight of this short story for me was the 90’s punk atmosphere that is created. I hoped to get some insights in living in that period as a trans girl, but unfortunately Thea did not really play a significant role. In fact, I could not deduce from the story that Thea was a trans girl and I also didn’t feel much chemistry between Thea and Laura. The story is more centered around Laura and her feeling of belonging (or not belonging) in this punk culture. In the end, I was expecting something different from the blurb and I would not recommend this for the romance, but I liked the 90’s punk scene vibe.
What a delightful story. With economical language, the setting and time are evoked, and the characters are rendered to feel very real. It's about a moment of connection, the feeling of being who you are and letting others see you. It felt like short stories ought to feel, about one time when small things in a much bigger world pivot.
This is a delightful short story set in 1993's at a punk house in Washington. The story mainly focuses on Laura, who despite living in a punk house works a regular 9-5 government job, unlike the rest of her housemates. However, a Vermeer exhibit finds Laura reaching out to Thea in hopes that her worlds of both punk and mainstream interests can co-exist.
This story was written for the "Come What May" collection by Interlude Press, a collection of short-stories released each Friday during February 2021.
Thank you to NetGalley and Interlude Press for allowing me to read an e-arc for this work. All opinions are my own.