Georgesear's Reviews > Leaving Van Gogh

Leaving Van Gogh by Carol Wallace
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Aug 04, 11

Read from July 31 to August 03, 2011

A fictionalized account of the relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and Dr. Paul Gachet, during the last months of Van Gogh's life in Auvers, France. A widower, Dr. Gachet and his children lived near Van Gogh in Auvers and were actually subjects he painted. The author uses Van Gogh family correspondence and other first hand sources to paint a moving portrait of Van Gogh's struggles with mental illness, as well as his genius. To this day, it is not known where Van Gogh obtained the gun he used to end his life, nor what happened to it after his death -- the author suggests a fascinating answer to this mystery.

The principle strength of this novel is its acute description of madness in all its forms as it was understood in the late nineteenth century. The conversations between Vincent and his friend Dr.Gachet beautifully illustrate the bleakness and despair that Van Gogh must have felt in those last weeks before he took his own life. Have some tissues nearby for the last chapters of this book.
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