Leaving Van Gogh: A Novel by Carol Wallace

By Carol Wallace

In the summertime of 1890, within the French city of Auvers-sur-Oise, Vincent van Gogh shot himself within the chest with a revolver.  He died days later, on the age of thirty-seven, mostly unknown regardless of having accomplished over thousand artistic endeavors that may pass directly to develop into the most vital and valued within the world.          

In this riveting novel, Carol Wallace brilliantly navigates the mysteries surrounding the grasp artist’s demise, hoping on meticulous study to color an indelible portrait of Van Gogh’s ultimate days—and the friendship that could or would possibly not have destroyed him. Telling Van Gogh’s tale from an totally new perspective—that of his own general practitioner, Dr. Gachet, expert in psychological sickness and nice lover of the arts—Wallace permits us to view the mythical painter as we’ve by no means obvious him before.  In our narrator’s eyes, Van Gogh is an impossible to resist puzzle, a guy whose brain, tormented by demons, poses the main almost certainly lucrative problem of Gachet’s career. 

Wallace’s narrative brims with suspense and wealthy mental perception because it tackles haunting questions about Van Gogh’s destiny. A masterly, gripping novel that explores the cost of creativity, Leaving Van Gogh is a luminous tale approximately what it skill to dwell authentically, and the ability and boundaries of friendship.

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Pinel’s theories thrilling. The merciful and humane attempt to guide a mad person back to his or her senses is not a simple task, and it is not always successful. Even now, in a new century, we do not know what keeps some of us tethered to reality while others go astray. We still do not know exactly how to diagnose the various forms of madness, and we certainly do not know how to cure them. This I have learned to my cost. But in those days, I still believed we could. I thought that kindness and regular hours, good, plain meals, fresh air, and moderate distraction—even work for the most capable—could relieve the mad.

Of those, the “mad doctors,” how many were acquainted with the new painting and those who produced it? I knew all too well that artists put a great strain on their nerves. Their perception of the world is as important as their touch with a brush or their color sense, and it is very easy to overtax this faculty. At the same time, many of them live in terrible conditions, as Vincent had evidently done. Vincent van Gogh felt he could help the world with his painting. That seemed unlikely. It was probably this very conviction that was driving him mad.

Still, Marguerite found a folder of her sheet music some years ago—well before that summer Vincent was with us. She learned to play those Chopin pieces as quickly as she could. Blanche had marked the music with fingerings and dynamic notations, which Marguerite found difficult to read. Seeing my wife’s handwriting gave me a little shock when Marguerite brought it to me to decipher. Yet for me, these memories of Blanche gave a special sweetness to our comfortable, peaceful way of life. I hoped it would bring solace to Theo van Gogh’s brother, if he came to Auvers.

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