Review: Van Gogh, Encore

Van Gogh, EncoreVan Gogh, Encore by John A. Karr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karr shows us the famous and infamous moments of Van Gogh's life as an artist through a 21st century filter, and creates a contemporary fiction to fill in the rest. The people that we know of that played a large part in Van Gogh last years come with him, and play similar roles as they did in the real story. What Karr does best in this book is creates the inner dialog of the mind that "saw" Starry Night, Night Cafe, Wheatfield with Crows and all those other magical recreations of light and color and movement. There are many theories of what was wrong with Vincent Van Gogh, what illness or disability caused his seizures and depressions. Instead of trying to explain the problem Karr allows it to be a tool, the very important tool of bringing those masterpieces to life. This is when this book is the most readable, when the "why" is forgotten and there's no attempt to make modern sense of a man who didn't do very well into his own time, let alone ours.

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