Thursday, May 8, 2014

à bientôt

I'm off on a brief get-away to France this week -- mentally, if not physically -- thanks to a couple of books I just happened to stumble across in the "W" section of our local library.

The first was a great little mystery novel called The Dark Vineyard, by Martin Walker, whose main character is chief of police (albeit only policeman) to a village in the Perigord region, the gastronomic heartland of France. It involved vineyards and the wine industry, genetic engineering, corporate espionage, arson, the Ecolo or Green movement, and a hefty dose of French food and village life. So, of course, I loved it! Best of all was the discovery that my library has several other books from this Chief Bruno series. I already have the next one on reserve!

From The Perigord, in southwest France, I traveled up to Paris and Auvers-sur-Oise, the town where Vincent van Gogh spent his final days. The book is Leaving Van Gogh, by Carol Wallace, and for an interesting spin, the story is being narrated by this gentleman...

Dr. Gachet -- specialist in mental illness and lover of art, whom Vincent's brother Theo had asked to oversee his care and well-being, once Vincent decided he could no longer live in Paris. I'm not very far into the book yet, but am fascinated by what I have already learned. For one thing, unlike most of the other impressionists, Vincent had no formal training in the arts, and had shown no early signs of artistic talent.

He just woke up one day with the belief that "colors, certain combinations of colors, can prompt or express emotion." And so he taught himself to paint, completing more than 2,000 works of art before his death at age 37. He as always been my favorite artist because his work is so, as I love to say, "color-mad". Now I know precisely what that means.

A bientot! Later! See you when I get back from France.

P.S. Photos of his art were taken from a little calendar I bought in Provence a couple of years ago, and could never bring myself to toss.


Diane said...

Loved this post and all the pictures. Think I'll look in my library for each of those books.

Hill Country Hippie said...

Diane, is there anything more exciting than discovering a new book series? I hate having to wait a year or two for each of my favorites to write another book! Love mysteries, love France, love food, and love having not one but SIX new books to read that involve all three!

musingegret said...

Years ago I read Lust for Life by Irving Stone about the life of Van Gogh; learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Hill Country Hippie said...

ME, I'll have to check that one out. I read another one that was a bit bizarre, but which I really liked and still learned a lot from - Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore. Also loved Luncheon of the Boating Party by somebody Vreeland.