Reader Review on Kindle site of Van Gogh, Encore:
Interesting idea expertly handled, October 11, 2010
By bandcandy "bandcandy" (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Van Gogh, Encore (Kindle Edition)
I tend to approach with caution any book which starts with a rather original and interesting premise - in this case re-examining the last year and a half of Van Gogh's life in the context of modern America and with the benefit of a genuinely loving female companion - because I often find that the promise of that idea is not always explored with enough thought and sensitivity. In this case, however, Karr as both writer and thinker is well up to the job. Van Gogh, Encore makes for a sometimes gritty, challenging read, - inevitably because we are being invited inside the mind of a troubled, possibly mentally ill and certainly disillusioned genius. We are also witnessing the difficulties encountered by anyone considered an outsider and a failure with all the issues of identity and self-worth that this raises. The balance of the book is good, however, and we are given some lights to offset the darks in the course of the narrative and there are some enjoyable and charming descriptions of how Van Gogh relates to Lynn and her son David. I was also interested to see how Karr handled the tricky job of transporting Van Gogh to modern times whilst keeping the integrity of his life and character and also allowing himself some room for manoeuvre in making the story his own. In this I think Karr was masterly and I found the characters and happenings at all times credible. We follow Van Gogh through familiar episode in his life (Gauguin's visit, Van Gogh's mutilation of his own ear) but there was scope for significant changes and I must confess that right up until the end I wasn't sure how the book would conclude. Suffice is to say that I had tears in my eyes at the end, but whether they were tears of joy or sorrow, I will not reveal.