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Lust for Life

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  19,174 ratings  ·  1,110 reviews
Lust for Life is the classic fictional re-telling of the incredible life of Vincent Van Gogh.

"Vincent is not dead. He will never die. His love, his genius, the great beauty he has created will go on forever, enriching the world... He was a colossus... a great painter... a great philosopher... a martyr to his love of art. "

Walking down the streets of Paris the
Paperback, 431 pages
Published February 1st 1990 by Arrow (first published 1934)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  19,174 ratings  ·  1,110 reviews

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Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 th
La Tonya  Jordan
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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, Gaug
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this in portuguese and loved it.
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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 featuring a real pe
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 fo
David K. Lemons
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.

Romantical Skeptic
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
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 - t
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.
Oct 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous book! If only Irving Stone were still alive to write about every great artist. This book is beautifully written, informative, exciting, and compelling. Absolutely a delight. I don't usually reread books (too many on my TBR), but this is one I know I'll come back to time after time. As an artist myself, this book injected me full of inspiration, and compelled me to complete more paintings and drawings in the 2 days I spent reading it (on Audible) than I had in months. I highly rec ...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, that yo ...more
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 cou
Kressel Housman
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.....
Dish Wanderer
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Fidan Selim-Zade
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 8 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
Theresa Alan
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Alex Ionașcu
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My love for this book is heavy, as is my love for Vincent van Gogh and his art.
I don't know if I can judge this book. In the end, it's basically a fictionalized biography of a worldwide known artist. How could I dare to judge a person's life?
But this book was everything I wanted it to be. It delivered emotion and, above everything, a realistic portrayal of what was like to be an artist in the world van Gogh lived in. I can't even fathom the documentation Irving Stone went through before writin
Prince Pankaj
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't think i am worthy enough to write a review of this Masterpiece.people have already written most iconic and helpful review than i can.This Book was a birthday gift by one of my friend ,and what, the best gift i have ever received yet. There is a saying that artist thrive on pain or they are not normal human or dangerously lunatic, why?after reading this you would understand. "Normal men don't create works of art.they eat, sleep,hold down routine jobs,and die".
Artists are hypersensit
Nigar Musayeva
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would call this book one of my all-time favorites, without question. Usually I am not someone who is touched by a story, let alone someone who sheds a tear, but I was literally sobbing when finishing this book.
It depicts Vincent's life so beautifully, but at the same time without any pathos, that eventually you feel like you've befriended this extraordinary person.
Sure thing, if you're a fan of Van Gogh and his art, I would highly recommend reading this piece of literature. I am convinced yo
Imane إيمان بلال
Vincent is not dead. He will never die. His love, his genius, the great beauty he has created will go on forever, enriching the world. Not an hour passes but that I look at his paintings and find there a new faith, a new meaning of life. He was a colossus ... a great painter ... a great philosopher. He fell a martyr to his love of art.
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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
“It's so easy to love. The only hard thing is to be loved.
[Vincent Van Gogh]”
“How difficult it is to be simple.” 77 likes
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