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Lust for Life

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  23,847 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews
Since its initial publication in 1934, Irving Stone's Lust For Life has been a critical success, a multimillion-copy bestseller, and the basis for an Academy Award-winning movie. The most famous of all of Stone's novels, it is the story of Vincent Van Gogh —brilliant painter, passionate lover, and alleged madman. Here is his tempestuous story: his dramatic life, his fevere ...more
Paperback, 489 pages
Published June 1984 by Plume Books (first published 1934)
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Cricket Muse Noted in the passage, Vincent finds himself alone after his time with Maya, but finds he is pleased with his completed painting, which steers this sce…moreNoted in the passage, Vincent finds himself alone after his time with Maya, but finds he is pleased with his completed painting, which steers this scene towards the metaphor of how painting had become his ultimate lover. (less)
Christine Stone's main source for Lust for Life, as noted in the afterword, were Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. …moreStone's main source for Lust for Life, as noted in the afterword, were Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. (less)

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I have always been fascinated with Vincent Van Gogh's art and of the man himself. Starry Night is my favorite painting. Irving Stone allows us a peek at Van Gogh the person and how the events of his life shaped the genius of his painting. Stone uses his pen as a brush to paint his portrait of Van Gogh and helped me to better understand the man behind the paintings. ...more
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I can read in less than 24 hours

(24 hours for almost 600 pages in Indonesian translation)

I have a little problem with rating stars, I can't give this book only a 5 star. It deserves a 10 stars!!

It's by far my most favorite book, I won't lend this book to anyone so then I can reread it whenever I want ;), I'll put it on my precious collection.

If I'm not wrong this is his word when he had a heated debate with Gauguin;
Van Gogh: 'It is not the language of painters but the language of
La Tonya  Jordan
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Palladuim Bookies
Shelves: favorites
This book is set in a period of time where titles, status, manners, and integrity of your family's name is very important. Vincent Van Gogh is testing all venues of social norms. With the constant support, love, and devotion of his brother Theo, Vincent Van Gogh became the artist, man, and living legend he is today. A name that will live forever in eternity for his contributions in art.

He started painting the peasants, laborers, weavers, and the outcast of society long before it was fashionable
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because it interested me on two levels. First, and ridiculously foremost, the authors name. Irving. The last name of my beloved John. And secondly, it’s a novel about Van Gogh. Van Gogh is nothing if not interesting.

Yet, I was surprised at just how into this book I was. I loved it. I loved Van Gogh’s story as an artist. I loved all that other artists in the story.

Can you imagine sitting at a cafe in Paris with the likes of Van Gogh, Toulouse-Laurtec, Cezanne, Gauguin, Zola an
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this in portuguese and loved it.
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it

Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh? Whoda thunk it. It's like choosing Charlton Heston to play Michelangelo. Oh, wait. That was done too.

I didn't expect to like this that much as I went into it. I read The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo and seem to remember thinking it was pretty okay, though strangely I can't recall where or when I read it. But I have this issue with books like this, historical fiction if you will. It's hard for me to suspend my disbelief in books fe
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing Irving Stone’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” I turned to his other historical novel about an artist.

Aptly titled “Lust for Life,” the book covers the short painting career of Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh, who became an artist after failed stints as a teacher and minister. He was 27-years-old. Stone’s principal references were the hundreds of letters exchanged between Vincent and his chief patron, his brother Theo. Luckily, these correspondences survive.

Initially, the
Either Irving Stone is a brilliant author writing this book in a simplistic style in order to capture Van Gogh's simple lifestyle and open-minded thinking (for the day) or this book is a travesty, one that could have been written elegantly in a way that would have reflected the beauty of Van Gogh's art. Since I can't make up my mind which it is, I have compromised with a 3-star rating.

What I liked:

*The author uses 700-plus letters from Van Gogh to his loving brother, Theo, as the foundation for
I had picked up "Lust for Life" in a secondhand book shop, like most of my books, to read on train trips back and forth from Elmwood Park to downtown Chicago, where I worked opposite the Chicago Tribune building on Michigan Avenue. I knew only a little about art or literature then, and I haven't improved much since that time, although after having read Irving Stone's biography of Van Gogh, I appreciated art and artists much more. I had already read Maugham's "The Moon and Sixpence" based on Paul ...more
Romantical Skeptic
I was going to gripe SO HARD about this book until the very last "author's notes" when I realized the book was published in 1934 and Irving Stone actually got first hand accounts of people who actually knew Van Gogh.

The good
1) The research and consistency with at least some research on Van Gogh and what is believed have been the sequence of events in his life -- he relies on VG's letters to his brother Theo, of which there are 800

2) I learned about Theo Van Gogh - the unheralded, loyal to a faul
This is a great book and is a fascinating historical biography of Van Gogh’s life. Like many others, I feel Van Gogh is one of the greatest geniuses, while also one of the saddest stories about artistic genius. I think Irving Stone is amazing for writing a book like this and brilliant in his manner of trying to capture the complexity of the obsessive personality that made Van Gogh who he was.
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
If you like historic fiction and the classics, you will enjoy Irving Stone's books. This one about the tortured life of Vincent Van Gogh is a old favorite.
4.5 stars
Abhishek Talesara
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“You mean you have to make your drawings right so the portraits will be good enough to sell?”
“No,” replied Vincent, sketching rapidly with his pencil, “I have to make my drawing right so that my drawing will be right.”

This dialogue between Vincent Van Gogh and his mother, read today, may come out as a banal mismatch of mindsets of an artist and a “sane” rational being. Be it Nina Sayers from “Black Swan”, Andrew from “Whiplash” or Howard Roark from “The Fountainhead”, their fury of passion—which
Written with a passion reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, Irving Stone's "Lust for Life" is a fictionalized biography of the famed post-Impressionist painter.

Stone starts his story during Van Gogh's teenaged years, living with his strict Calvinist parents (his father was a predikant, a Dutch Calvinist minister), somewhat struggling against the strictures of his life. He himself becomes a Calvinist evangelist and receives a less-than-desirable assignment to a Belgian coal-mining town.

Bionic Jean
Irving Stone has been criticised for being populist, but I really enjoyed this imaginative retelling of Van Gogh's life story. It inspired me to search out his paintings in London's galleries, and you can't want for more than that in a biography of an artist. ...more
I did not like this. At all. Years ago I liked Pierre la Mure's biographical novel Moulin Rouge (1950), which is about the struggles of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, another favorite artist of mine. I still don't understand the point of biographical novels though, because I would rather read a proper objective biography. My problem is the same with historical novels: how can you trust that the author hasn't distorted the events, but has actually done thorough research? Must you have blind faith, th ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Masterpiece !! Stone narrative is masterful, impressive, compulsive.
Certainly, the fact that the exceptional protagonist of the story is one of the most suffering artist ever existed, makes the flight of imagination to dramatize the Artist life an astounding feat of thorough research, sensibility and empathy.
Seemingly, Stone account isn't totally faithful to the facts and the troubled psychology of the man: it is evident the author effort to paint out the Artist as a Jesus Christ figure, pure a
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could hardly put this book down. Van Gogh was such an intense man and cared so much for others. He was kind, passionate, talented, and so misunderstood and reviled by so many. When I finished the book, I grieved, for a lost friend.....
Jovana Autumn
“Art is amoral; so is life. For me there are no obscene pictures or books; there are only poorly conceived and poorly executed ones.”

The famous biography of Van Gogh was some time on my to-read list.
I love the paintings of Van Gogh, they have always awoken emotion in me, the coloring, the people nature, everything is full of emotion.

There isn’t a way to write a review for this book without spoiling it, so I’ll just say that my initial impression was that Stone doesn’t really know how to wri
Sahar Frb
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night
You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you."
Alvi Harahap
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lust For Life is Irving Stone's biographical novel about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Reading fiction is one thing but reading a biography calls for loads of patience. Unwittingly I started reading this book which goes by the name Lust for Life by Irving Stone.

And yet Lust for Life is a devastatingly sad chronicle of the life and paintings of Vincent. It struck me like a bolt of lightning that not a single canvas that Vincent produced ever went on sale. Vincent could be called
Kressel Housman
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring artists of all kinds
You don't need a strong art history background to appreciate this, the novelized biography of Vincent Van Gogh. Even if you can only remember the names of a few French impressionists and can picture only a painting or two, that's plenty. The more knowledge, the better, but that's all I had, and I found this book both educational and enjoyable. Frum readers should be warned that Van Gogh's relationships with women, including prostitutes, figure into this book. Those scenes are not as explicit as ...more
Theresa Alan
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because of all the things I got to learn about this artist. For example, I didn't know Van Gogh had worked as a preacher in a mining town and gave away absolutely everything to the starving families around him before he became a (unsuccessful during his lifetime) painter. I also recommend The Agony and the Ecstasy by the same author about Michelangelo for the same reason--learning about these amazing artists and what they endured to have artwork that connects so many from such ...more
Dish Wanderer
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
‘No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.’- Doctor Gachet (pg.412) This sentence spoken by Doctor Gachet best sum up the brilliant genius that was Vincent Van Gogh. What an amazing painter and individual, driven by the ‘lust for life’, his passion for art, just takes your breath away! What a lonely man, driven by a need for love and comfort but finding none save in his beloved brother Theo and his paintings.
This is a poignant, wonderful, inspiring and yet heart breaking story of V
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like reading a biography that is wrapped in a form of a novel. Can't really tell how much of this was fiction, but it's kind of mindblowing to me, to know that the author actually talked to people who knew Vincent in person.
My god that man suffered. He chose to. Pain was his art, he knew no other way. He was laughed at, mocked, being called "Le Fou Roux" - the red fool, being rejected by women he loved, he was an embarrassment to his family. His teachers and fellow painters didn't look at him s
Fidan Selim-Zade
The book's name - Lust for Life - perfectly describes the biography of well-known painter Vincent Van Gogh. You live the utter dedication and passion, sore quest, denial, devastation, solitude and camaraderie, elaboration of talent, strong will to address the silent misery and internal beauty, anowal, brother's love.. The life and art to be remembered, the souls of two brothers so pure, that the ending of their paths cannot leave anyone indifferent. My heart is now with Theo Van Gogh and his phe ...more
Mikey B.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a surprisingly good book, as I was leery of a novelistic approach to a biography. Sure there are some leaps and liberties taken, but for the most part it seems authentic.

The beginning is rather tedious with Van Gogh’s unreciprocated love for Ursula. This is strained and not particularly interesting. It has little to do with Van Gogh’s creation of art. After this episode the story picks up pace and is fast moving. The author does not dwell long on any particular topic. The chapters are
Feb 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Mr Irving Stone, you deserve a punch in the face for destroying my passion for The Starry Night.

I find biographical novels... questionable. Having the picture heavily distorted by author's vivid imagination is what has kept me back from the genre. For Vincent, I took a chance, as with a story so moving, I was certain there was little that could have gone wrong. Ahem.

Titular passion was nowhere to be found. Clunky dialogue and oversimplified style made me think that Lust for Life should actually
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Irving Stone wrote this fictional biography of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest impressionist painters of all time, using the fragments of his life. with an immense instructive potential, Stone gives us eight parts devided by places Vincent tried to build a life in, and ends it with his tragic death.

Although I was interested in reading this book, when I got right down to it I kind of expected it to be dry or tedious. It was not. I flew through it. This was one of the most beautiful books I'
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am short of words to express how i feel after reading this. This was an intense, passionate, gripping tale of a man who created a path breaking work in the world of painting, despite the deteriorating conditions of his flesh and mind . I felt as if I had gained some priceless asset after completing it. It's been quite a time that i felt completely absorbed in a book. It came to me at the right time and it made a profound impact on the way i see life ...more
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In 1923, Stone received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1960s, Stone received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern California, where he had previously earned a Masters Degree from the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

When at home, Stone relied upon the research facilities and expertise made available to him by Esther Euler

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“It's so easy to love. The only hard thing is to be loved.
[Vincent Van Gogh]”
“How difficult it is to be simple.” 79 likes
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