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Irving Stone wrote this book in 1934 and became the master of the biographical novel. I had read a number of his books back in the 50's and 60's and wanted to read them all but did not have the time. I do hope that Audible will provide all of his outstanding books. A number of Stone's books were made into movies. " Lust for Life" is the story of Vincent Van Gogh, the facts are correct but stone's brings him to life and in doing so has to take creative license therefore it is a novel. I remember after reading this book in 1962 I went to the museum to look at Van Gogh paintings. I am glad I read this book again as I had remember very little of it. Stone describes the colors of the area and what Vincent is painting so it helps me see the world though Van Gogh's eyes or the eyes of a painter.
Van Gogh probably had a bipolar disorder and did has greatest painting when in the manic phase. Some of his medical complaints may also be caused by his over consumption of Absinthe as it contains a toxin and to lead poisoning which was common among painters of that era. The toxin in Absinthe causes one to see yellow and halo around lights. The story covers in detail his early life to his death. You will enjoy this book.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful
This book creates a wonderful backdrop for appreciating the work of Vincent Van Gogh, providing an understanding of his development as an artist, as well as giving insight into the popular perceptions of him as a quintessential starving artist and cutter of his own ear. The story was developed using Vincent's own words from his letters to brother Theo, which certainly lends credibility to the thoughts that Stone puts in Vincent's head, as well as to conversations between Vincent and the other Impressionists of the age.
However, I think this may be one of those books best read rather than listened to...
It's not the narration; Mr. West does a fine, measured job, especially attributing a sweet earnestness to Vincent, and I probably would never have gotten around to the written version before my travels to Amsterdam (where his museum lives) and Provence (where he did much of his painting).
But Stone put so much effort into his descriptions of the places, people, clothing, food, the period in general, that it was often difficult to visualize them at the same pace they were being read - or maybe it's that I felt they deserved to be re-read and dwelt upon. It's strange that in the end, I felt that the hours of narration passed both too slowly because of the detail, and too quickly because I couldn't absorb all the detail!
While I'm happy to have listened to this version of the book, I plan to find a real paper copy that I can search through for certain descriptions of paintings and settings, to bookmark and compare to the paintings that are now as beloved by the world as they seemed to have been by Vincent himself. (P.S. The Van Gogh Museum is worth a visit, especially when they keep it open late on Friday nights! The most fascinating part is where they compare the current colors in the paintings to what was originally put on canvas - many of the blues used to be purples...)
7 of 8 people found this review helpful