Monday, January 11, 2010


by Sheramy Bundrick

I'm very proud of my parents. They know me so well. They know Vincent van Gogh is my favorite painter, and they know that I love historical fiction. So, what do they do? They find a historical novel about Vincent van Gogh and give it to me for Christmas! I'm quite impressed. Great shopping, Mom and Dad!

Rachel is the prostitute to whom Vincent gives his ear when he cuts it off. That is the only historical fact known about her. So the author took this seemingly minor person and spun a story about her relationship with Vincent during his time in Arles, France. Why would Vincent specifically ask for Rachel when he stumbles into the brothel that night? A good question, which the author answers with creativity and imagination.

The novel is littered with imagery of Vincent's paintings, especially my favorite, "Cafe Terrace at Night". The descriptions are so well written that I could vividly see his paintings in my head and feel emotions that he meant to convey through his art. I no longer have to go to the museum to get lost in his work; I only have to open this book and choose a paragraph.

This story is an emotional, artistic, whimsical journey through the life of a troubled artist. It makes Vincent a person instead of just a historical figure and gives life also to those who influenced him and loved him. It turns Rachel into something more than just a fille de maison, into a woman who held the heart of the artist. Reading this book was like following the swirls and brushstrokes of Vincent's own art.

Vincent was more than just some crazy guy with a paintbrush. He had a life, filled with both peace and problems. He was a genius, though still human. And his paintings are breathtaking. His soul was painted for all to see; all you have to do is follow his artwork and you see Vincent himself, on every piece of canvas.

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