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Leaving Van Gogh : a novel
Carol Wallace
Adult Fiction WALLACE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With several middle-grade books behind her, Wallace makes her adult fiction debut with an intense look at the last months of Vincent van Gogh through the eyes of Paul Gachet, a doctor specializing in mental illness. In the spring of 1890 Theo van Gogh, Vincent's younger brother, approaches Gachet with a request. Vincent was moving to Auvres, France, to paint and seek peace in the countryside. Theo wants Gachet, who once lived in the region, to supervise his brother. Gachet, a known patron of the arts and an amateur artist himself, agrees and is immediately drawn to van Gogh's luminous work. As the seasons pass he bears witness to the painter's mental anguish and struggles to determine what maladies so consume him. As he watches the artist's troubling downfall, Gachet must determine how best to care for van Gogh-and the family his death would leave in need. Tapping a deep well of research, Wallace paints a portrait of how madness can both make and break a man. But by making the clinical Gachet his narrator, the author pushes readers away, rather than giving them a chance to get to know the haunted figure behind the canvas. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Parisian psychiatrist Paul Gachet receives an appeal from Theo van Gogh on behalf of his brother, Vincent. A gifted painter with a tortured soul, Vincent has been in and out of asylums for years-perhaps Dr. Gachet, renowned for his work concerning nervous diseases, could provide the medical help that has thus far been lacking? Gachet, himself an amateur painter who believes in the fundamental treatments of good nutrition, fresh air, and a stable atmosphere, invites Vincent to become a guest in his own home in Auvers. Theo has difficulties of his own, yet he unfailingly provides his brother with ample supplies of paint and canvas. Despite their best efforts, Vincent cannot find relief from his maladies. As he becomes increasingly despondent and loses his ability to paint, we see that the end will come too soon for a man with a miraculous talent and far too much sensitivity for this world. Wallace (coauthor, The Official Preppy Handbook) successfully characterizes the inner lives of both the painter and his troubled physician as their paths briefly cross, then diverge. VERDICT While discomfortingly sad, this in-depth look at the final few months of van Gogh's life offers insight into that damning, draining combination of genius and madness. Read this with a volume of van Gogh reprints at your side for reference. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/10.]-Susanne Wells, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Gachet
Male
Specialist in mental illness;.
Doctor



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