What it takes to be a real artist is debatable. A sudden urge to create, an invincible desire to stay away from anything that’s mundane (that includes your current job) and keeps you away from your true calling – I can take that. But leaving everything behind, i.e. spouse and children, and completely ignore them for the rest of your life in order to focus on your art, whatever form it has, – that is too much for me to bear. I definitely speak as a woman and wife, whose connection to art limits to a face to face encounter with some incredibly famous paintings & sculptures in Parisian museums and some art books. Not being able to produce any kind of art, I’m probably less capable of understanding artists, though, as I said, I understand the need to create. It’s probably the reason I both loved and hated Charles Strickland, a character loosely based on Paul Gauguin (I’d say this is of no importance to reading the book). The book – very well written, I might add – follows him since he decides to leave everything and dedicate to painting till the end of his life, in Tahiti.
Recommended to art lovers, artists’ admirers or well-written book lovers. :)
p.s. I enjoy 3rd person narratives when they involve an active character (like Nick in The Great Gatsby). We don’t know anything about the narrator here, except that he’s some kind of a writer, but I very much liked his fitting into the story.
p.p.s. The cover of this edition (Dover Thrift Editions) shows a detail from a painting dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh, Les Misérables
, by P. Gauguin.