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Lust for Life [Paperback]

Irving Stone
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1981 Plume
The book captures the atmosphere of the Paris of the Post-Impressionists and reconstructs the development of Van Gogh's art.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Irving Stone was born in San Francisco on July 14, 1903. He wrote several books in a genre that he coined the “biographical novel,” which recounted the lives of well-known historical figures. In these novels, Stone interspersed biography with fictional narrative on the psychology and private lives of his subjects. He also wrote biographies of Clarence Darrow and Earl Warren, and short biographies of men who lost presidential elections. He died on August 26, 1989.

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First Sentence
VICE-ADMIRAL JOHANNES VAN GOGH, highest ranking officer in the Dutch Navy, stood on the stoep of his roomy, rent-free residence at the rear of the Navy Yard. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lust for Stone June 11 2004
This is a beautiful novel. It is extremely well written, the story flows smoothly and the characters are all life like. Of course, it is a biographocal novel, so most of the events and characters are drawn from real life, which makes the task of creating the story easier, but Stone breathes incredible vitality into Van Gogh and those surrounding him. It would be hard to recreate van Gogh's intensity and passion (as well as his descent into madness), but Stone does an admirable job of it. Also, through incredible research Stone takes the reader to the settings of many of Van Gogh's landscapes and introduces many of the subjects of his portraits, which helps someone as ignorant about art as me understand his vision and motivations. I don't see a problem with Stone making up dialogue and some of the scenes in the book, because they make it a richer story and even in authentic biographies, no one has perfect recall of exactly what took place.
I would say this book is not as good as The Agony and The Ecstacy, which is an absolute must read for anyone, but it is a brilliant novel and I will recommend it to everyone, even if you know nothing about art or no particular interest in Van Gogh. You will not be disappointed after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Remarkable Story of Passion and Turmoil July 7 2008
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Irving Stone is one rare biographers who captures the essence of an artist's efforts to discover his or her real talents in life. In this case, it is the tribulations and triumphs of Vincent Van Gogh which come under the microscope of literary analysis. The story Stone weaves follows the all-too brief life of Van Gogh in mid-19th century Holland as he tries to become the artist that nobody wants him to be: creative, daring, assertive, original and, above all else, true to his own sensibilities. The reader, when embarking on this story, should be aware that Van Gogh is one uneasy character right from the getgo. His tortured mind reveals a classic disposition of wanting to please others before looking after his own personal needs. There were many moments, especially in the earlier parts of his life, when Van Gogh tried to conform to the social and religious mores of his family and community but failed because there was always a little part that held out. Stone spends considerable time defining the intrinsic aspect of Vans Gogh's life - his stubborn artistic temperament - that refused to yield to parental and societal expectations. The story is written in such engagingly casual prose that the reader should have little problem traveling along with Van Gogh as he atttempts to find the medium that would best represent his portrayal of life's mysterious forms. But don't be deceived; there will be moments of high drama and frustration facing the man as he decides to venture further out into realms untested. How mad, or disconnected from reality, does Van Gogh become in this journey? Stone allows the reader a certain latitude in answering that one. A marvelous read that has the potential to raise all kinds of issues as to how modern society tolerates the artists and their various styles of expression.
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5.0 out of 5 stars is art worth it May 31 2004
By scott
I was skeptical of the biographical novel, was it going to be cheap Hollywood style melodrama with graphic descriptions of Van Gogh's ear mutilation. No, it was a brilliant book, which illustrated the price for great art better than any book i have ever read. Van Gogh paid a heavy price indeed, his sanity, a normal life , and ultimately his life. It was his passion, his manic passion to create, not to imitate, that fueled his artistic genius. But what was it that inspired his passion to express his true feelings, celebrity, no, money, no he was indifferent ( though a serious sponge) , no it was alienation from the society, rejection by women, perhaps underlying his suffering a deep sense of emptiness. it was this emptiness that ignited his unquenchable passion to create, to express his perception of the world. However, when he had lost his passion for art, he was forced to reencounter his own emptiness, and as you will see, he could not handle this reality.
This book is well written, though at times unrelentlessly depressing, you wait for some small good thing to happen and it never does, or rarely does. You also get a good impression, no pun intended as to how Impressionism was quite a revolutionary art form, ( though now its sadly becoming cliche and yuppiesaque)it avoids technicality while giving a good description of what Impressionism was or i suppose is.
This book left me in tears, and i think anyone would enjoy reading this book .
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4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable accomplishment Sept. 19 2000
The accomplishment refers to the writing of Irving Stone. Starting from the collected letters Vincent sent to his younger brother Theo during his life, Stone does something very good: he writes a fictionalized biography without, at the same time, tampering with history. This is a novel as much as a biography. Stone invents dialogues, but they do not become fantasy. Anyway, the book is really moving, I read it 18 years ago and I still remember details of it, much more than some books I read last year. The most important thing about this book is that you get to be inside a great artist's life, being witness to his transformation, from a troubled but well-to-do art merchant (his uncles were among the most important in Europe, his father being a religious man), to his stay at the Netherlands trying to find his soul, to Belgium living in the midst of the terrible poverty of the coal-mine workers (and starting to draw), to Paris, where he dives into artistic life, learning very much in the way; to Arles and days with Gauguin, where his mind starts to go astray, to Auvers. [...] this book is very good indeed. Give it a try and you'll find a life you'll never forget.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I read this book over thirty years ago and remebered that I just loved it.... so because I just painted two of Van Gogh's paintings (paint bty number kits) I wanted to read Lust... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Claudette Hamel
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
A masterpiece by Irving Stone. You admire this book more if you have seen van Gogh's paintings. But I really wonder, does this book truly depicts van Gogh's life? Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2004 by Monamigabi
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, wonderfully written
The book takes you to the level where one forgets being only a reader. Gogh lived a deep, intense life and the book does justice by bringing out his personality very well. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by Proma Ray
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
I found this book to be very inspiring. Van Gogh's life makes the average person's everyday life seem completely bland and uninspired. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2003 by Chris Phillips
2.0 out of 5 stars But it's not real
Though this fairly well-written book tells A story about the possibilities in the life of Vincent Van Gogh, it's not what actually happened. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars The Woe of Van Gogh
Irving Stone, a pioneer of the biographical fiction genre has produced a solid work. Depictions of Van Gogh's obsession with his art as well as depictions of the artistic... Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2002 by seanrahan
5.0 out of 5 stars The standard by which all Van Gogh biographies are measured.
Lust For Life, first penned by Irving Stone over 60 years ago, still stands out as the definitive biography of Van Gogh despite all the years that have since brought us new books... Read more
Published on Nov. 5 2001 by george r meurer
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read
This was probably the most spellbinding book I've ever read. From the moment Vincent arrived at the Barinage, I became absored completely in the story of this man and couldn't put... Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2001 by Pete Popov
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read
This was probably the most spellbinding book I've ever read. From the moment Vincent arrived at the Barinage, I became absored completely in the story of this man and couldn't put... Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2001 by Pete Popov
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle soul was Vincent Van Gogh
Stone takes the reader on a fascinating journey recapping Vincent Van Gogh's life of hardships and triumphs in his biographical novel Lust for Life. Read more
Published on July 25 2001 by History_of_Art_Geek
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