am 19. April 1999
This may sound (in this context) like a million time overused cliche (which it is) but I'd just like to say one thing: READ THIS BOOK. If you'd like to know what defines an amazing life story, read this book. If you have any kind of interest/appreciation for art, or would like to develop one, read this book. If you can appreciate what a being a real person is all about, read this book. If you can appreciate what it means to have guts, read this book. If you just like to read good books, read this book. And if you are a Van Gogh fan DEVOUR this book.
So what I am trying to say here is READ THIS BOOK. It's a very good book, I promise you. Its a very true book, and a very touching book. And its a book that is capable of completely transforming the way you look at Van Gogh and his work. What can I say, knowing what a person felt and thought when he painted a particular painting adds a lot to the way you look at his work. This is especially true with someone like Van Gogh, whose work is initially very difficult to understand and appreciate. So do yourself a big favor:
Read This Great Book!!!!!
am 11. Mai 2000
Irving Stone is not a "great" biographer. He doesn't provide copious bibliographic details or even pretend particularly to serious scholarship. But he does do his research. What Stone is is a very good storyteller. And the stories he tells, whether about Jack London, Heinrich Schleimann, Michelangelo or Freud, have always entertained and (yes) enriched me. Van Gogh's biography, and it's companion-piece, Dear Theo, are particularly moving accounts of that great, tragic painter. I doubt if any artist ever despaired as deeply or more profoundly than Vincent. Stone captures the pathos of Van Gogh's few moments of exhiliration, followed always by days of dissilusionment and depression. Van Gogh was the saint and prototype of all struggling artists. The penury and neglect he suffered through shouldn't have to be endured by the mangiest stray animal. It's one of God's great ironies (Faulkner's cosmic jester?) that Van Gogh's works are bought by Japanese investors and museum collections for umptold millions, whereas their creator, having climbed down to the last rung of despair, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. If you enjoy this book as much as I did, read Dear Theo. It reveals the extraordinarly tender love the two Van Gogh brothers had for each other. Theo was basically Vincent's sole means of support during the artists's latter years. Unfortunately, Theo was living in boderline poverty himself, had a family, and thus couldn't give much to Vincent save for a little bit of money and a great deal of moral encouragement. Both of these books are infinitely sad, yet the redeeming aspect is that Vincent didn't live his life in vain, as he thought, and that the body of work which has survived ( many paintings were painted over - canvas was a luxury) is a testament to his genius.
am 6. Oktober 1997
I picked this book out of luck, and I'm really glad I did. This is a book that makes you feel -- you suffer with Vincent's bad times, and you fill with joy with his triumphs...
It tells about the most important aspects about Van Gogh's life, his close relationship with his brother Theo, his passionate yet unproductive attempts as a lover, how he got an artist's soul through his poverty, and how, in spite of all he did, nobody looked at him as what he was -an artist- until he was no more.
Irving Stone's writing is beautiful yet easy to read...
I found out that he wrote it around the 30's after reading it, and I was purely amazed.
This is a book that will make it's own way to your heart, and will stay there for a long time...
Take a friend's advice. Buy this book.
am 24. September 2013
Published in 1934, this novel is written in a remarkably modern way. Stone tells about Van Gogh's life from its spiritual start to its insane and exhausted end. Although the novel is written in a linear manner, without jumps in space or time, it never becomes boring and drags the reader into the world of colour. When using the internet for finding the paintings of the different parts of Van Gogh's life as described in the book, the novel becomes as real as it can get. Many times I expected the pages being glued together by oil paint and colour being smeared over my hands. One of the best books I have read for quite a while.
am 3. Juni 1997
Irving Stone's greatest novel, "Lust for Life," traces the life of Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh from his auspicious beginnings as an art dealer in London to his death at age 37 in Auvers in 1890.
The book is considered a 'biographical novel' because, although it is rooted in fact, the author has fictionalized certain details, as well as dialog that can only be imagined. Stone, however had quite an advantage when writing "Lust for Life." He had at his disposal the massive three volume set of "The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh." Van Gogh, after all, was not only one of the greatest painters in history, but also one of most prolific and eloquent writer of letters. When reading "Lust for Life," one can easily find Van Gogh's own words liberally sprinkled throuhgout the dialog, giving a depth of insight into his art and philosophy that no author could ever dream up in a work of pure fiction. Stone seamlessly weaves a literary portrait of Van Gogh that can honestly be called a masterpiece.
Stone opted to skip over undramatic events in Van Gogh's life, such as his brief stay in Drenthe. Instead, he keeps the story moving steadily and sometimes swiftly, over the pricipal events in the artist's stormy life. Such ommisions have unjustly drawn harsh criticism from Van Gogh scholors, who question the wisdom of tampering with history. It must be remembered, however, that the purpose of "Lust for Life" is not to read as a dry, historically accurate biography, but as an entertaining story, which works wonderfully at emphasizing the drama without resorting to prepetuating myths about the artist.
"Lust for Life" works best as pure escapism for anyone wanting to transport themselves into another time. Van Gogh is brought into vivid focus, living and breathing from page to page. Stone has done an incredible job of distilling Van Gogh's personality and presenting in a highly palatable form. No matter how many times the book is read (I have read it nine times) the ending never fails to deliver an emotional whollop that will leave the reader in tears.
I wish all books could be this good.
am 31. Dezember 1999
Few times have I ever found myself so completely lost in the world of another human being as I did through this book. Irving Stone's work has already been praised thoughout his lifetime. Nonetheless, it is important to know that this is one of those works of art that seems to come from a mythical language that is the source of both truth and creativity, thereby effectively blurring the line separating novel from history while simultaneously enriching both art forms AND the subject. This is why scholars and art lovers alike have read this and enjoyed it so. There will be parts of this work where you will not be able to understand the motivation for van Gogh's actions, or the source of his inspiration. And there will be times when you will swear the book is about you. So profoundly does he capture the soul of the artist- and all artists- and in so doing the communal soul of humanity.
It is impossible not to enjoy this book. If you love Impressionism, Amsterdam/Holland, Paris, art, fine writingng, biography, or any combination of the above- and of course, if you are an artist (I am a writer and musician), this book may change you.
am 27. April 2000
"One day you will express yourself and that will justify your existence", said Vincent van gogh's teacher to him. if i start writing about the book, it will wet reams of paper. I have read the book at least fifty times and everytime i derive a different meaning from it. lust for life potrays the kind of life vincent van gogh, the famous painter lived. how he tried to find true love and how he failed. and how he experimented with painting; everytime you read his story, there is a sinking feeling in your heart. you can feel his agony and ecstasy. this book has given me confidence- of being separate and different from the crowd. i have learnt to be an extremist in life, no matter what price i have to pay for it. it has also made me think that i can work as a mason, a clerk or a writer, or as a social activist and still be able to be different and yes.... one day i'll express myself and that will justify my existence. after reading the book, i have sought peace. what i found is ecstasy, anguish, madness and loneliness... the solitary pain that gnaws the heart, but peace i did not find. do i need it? no. No. Never.
am 23. Februar 2000
Not being big on reading I was at first intmidated to read this novel. I had heard from my father what a wonderful book it was (it was one of the few books he had read in his lifetime). Not quite sure what I was getting into I leafed through the weathered old copy and very soon became engulfed inside the life of this mysterious and wonderful man. This book is a powerful work of literal art. It is beautifully captivating, and was impossible for me to put down. I found myself falling in love with the character. When he cried, I cried, when he laughed, I laughed. This book is like a blanket, enveloping you with warmth and security. I would recommend this book to anyone who need to have a revival in life and spirituality because I can tell you from experience that it changed me. I hope my review has influenced you and you will deeply consider reading this novel.
am 7. Juni 2000
Irving Stone's biography of Vincent Van Gogh is a thoroughly absorbing story. Taking him from London to the Netherlands to Belgium and the South of France, the book takes you on a trip through Vincent's arduous yet fascinating life. What makes the story so fulfilling is that you're there with Van Gogh all the way, through his hard times as well as his brief successes. One of the most fascinating sections of the book is the period he spends in a coal mine in Belgium, living and working in utter poverty. His meetings with famous artists like Gaugin are also quite interesting. Sadly, his slow descent into madness is also chronicled here.
You don't have to be a fan of Van Goh's work to appreciate this intense story (but it helps). Highly recommended for anyone who's interested in the lives of people who have led truly unique lives.
am 26. November 1999
This book speaks to the artist within each of us. We all possess that passionate, mad lust to create. Vincent was one of the few that was true to his lust. Sadly his brutal honesty did not fit into our utilitarian world and his story is a tragedy of epic proportions. As the book says:
" Vincent knew that to attain the yellow note which dominated the Arlesian canvases he had to be on edge, strung up, throbbingly excited, passionately sensitive, his nerves rasped raw. If he allowed himself to get into that state, he could paint again as brilliantly as before. But the road led to destruction.
'An artist is a man with his work to do," he murmured to himself. ' How stupid for me to remain alive if I can't paint the way I want to paint.'"