From Publishers Weekly
Van Gogh scholar Claire Andrews strikes a young boy while driving home and kills him instantly. Though she could do little to prevent the accident, Claire faces intense guilt, as well as a high-publicity, slanderous lawsuit pushed by the boy's grandfather, former city attorney Fletcher Kennealy. Claire's estranged husband, Richard, moves in to help her through the ordeal, as Claire struggles to complete a career-crucial monograph on Crows over the Wheat Field
and its connection to Van Gogh's suicide. Claire quickly goes on sabbatical to Auvers-sur-Oise, the Mediterranean town where Van Gogh ended his life. There, she uncovers surprising new insights into Van Gogh and his already well-studied friendship with Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, physician, art collector, and amateur painter (and, natch, discovers parallels between Van Gogh's life and her own). Over-the-top prose ("Claire felt the dramatic irony of hope, looking into those pure eyes, knowing that heartbreak, disappointment, and affected and unaffected tragedy lie just beyond the door"), a plodding pace and a too-fast denouement can't quite kill this second novel from Braver (Divine Sarah
), who gets Claire's feelings right and offers up a nice look at Van Gogh's last years to boot. (June)
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“[A] brilliant exploration of the nature of art, accident, and truth.” (Sigrid Nunez, author of The Last of Her Kind
“An intricate and suspenseful narrative of love and art. . . . A remarkably absorbing and intelligent novel. (Margot Livesey )