In the interim of nearly thirty years since Irving Stone's Lust for Life made Van Gogh a familiar name to a vast number of readers, there have been found numerous letters, diaries, sources traced to contemporaries who knew him. Poldermans a young Dutch author, has steeped himself in this material and based his fictional biography firmly on these records, giving a definite authenticity to this novel. The story is in itself sheer tragic drama; Poldermans has kept it from being too melodramatic, and has put the secondary figures into relief, without sentimentalizing them. Theo, Vincent's brother, comes through in much more human terms, the adoration in which Vincent held him is somewhat muted, and much of Theo's dedication is shown as being a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility. Vincent himself somehow falls short of the vivid figure Stone painted, but for that very reason has more reality, in every respect of his many-faceted personality, his eternal rebellion, his inability to come to terms with life and people, and his genius. Except for the interpretations of his thinking, the conversations, and so on, one could read this as sensitive portraiture rather than fiction.