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Novelist Christina Baker Kline Brings to Life ‘A Piece of the World’

Feb. 28, 2017
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Photo Credit: Karin Diana

Christina Baker Kline’s 2013 bestselling book Orphan Train spent more than two years on The New York Times bestseller list. Based on a painful point in America’s past, when so-called “orphan trains” ran regularly from the East Coast to the Midwest carrying abandoned children to unknown new realities, this captivating story moves fluidly from the present day back to the years between 1854 and 1929.

In Kline’s new novel, A Piece of the World, the accomplished author again brings to life a little-known chapter of American history as she imagines the mysterious life of the woman in artist Andrew Wyeth’s best known, 20th-century painting, Christina’s World, which depicts a contorted woman lying in the grass in a sweeping rural landscape.

Muse Anna Christina Olson (1893-1968), who suffered from a debilitating nervous disease that left her unable to walk, was a lifelong resident of Maine, where she lived with her family in a farmhouse and was often seen crawling around the farmland and surrounding woods. This private spinster’s life is intimately recreated in A Piece of the World, a beguiling tale that is by turns tender and tragic as it spotlights the interior yearnings of a lonely woman confined by her desolate surroundings and her physical illness.

Baker Kline is the author of six fiction books and five works of non-fiction. Raised in England and the American South, Kline currently makes her home in both Maine and New Jersey. She will speak at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 at Lynden Sculpture Garden (2145 W. Brown Deer Road) in a ticketed event co-sponsored by Boswell Book Co.

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