This novel was published in 1934 and tells the story of the life of Vincent Van Gogh. In writing it, according to the author's note, Stone relied heavily on the letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo.
I didn't know a lot about Van Gogh's life, but what I did know was sad so I was hesitant to read this. There was a lot of sadness and hardship in the book, but it was not as depressing as I expected because of the way Van Gogh saw his own life which was fairly hopeful as long as he could make his art. I enjoyed this novel and I learned a lot about both Van Gogh and the art world of the late 19th century. It moved through the action fairly quickly, but overall was a quiet book filled with ruminations on life and art and love. The places are beautifully described as they appear in Van Gogh's paintings.
"He could not yet face his own life, so he turned to the lives of others. He returned to his books. Reading had always been his finest and most constant pleasure, and now in the stories of other people's triumphs and failures, sufferings and joys, he found surcease from the ever haunting spectre of his own fiasco." (p. 71)