Van Gogh's Room at Arles

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Dalkey Archive Press, 1993 - Fiction - 312 pages
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The three novellas collected in Van Gogh's Room at Arles demonstrate once again Stanley Elkin's mastery of the English language, with exuberant rants on almost every page, unexpected plot twists, and jokes that leave readers torn between laughter and tears. "Her Sense of Timing" relates a destructive day in the life of a wheelchair-bound professor who is abandoned by his wife at the worst possible time, leaving him to preside -- helplessly -- over a party for his students that careens out of control. The second story in this collection tells of an unsuspecting commoner catapulted into royalty when she catches the wandering eye of Prince Larry of Wales. And in the title story, a community college professor searches for his scholarly identity in a land of academic giants while staying in Van Gogh's famous room at Arles and avoiding run-ins with the Club of the Portraits of the Descendants of the People Painted by Vincent Van Gogh.


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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

From Elkin (The MacGuffin, Pieces of Soap, etc.), three novellas that limn with controlled passion and wry humor the anguish of disjointedness—of not quite catching "the beautiful ruin of the world ... Read full review

Van Gogh's room at Arles: three novellas

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In "Her Sense of Timing,'' a professor of political geography paralyzed by a "degenerative neurological disease'' (obviously the multiple sclerosis that also affects Elkin) tries to host a party ... Read full review


Her Sense of Timing 1
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Van Goghs Room at Arles 219

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About the author (1993)

Stanley Elkin (1930-1995) was an award-winning author of novels, short stories, and essays. Born in the Bronx, Elkin received his BA and PhD from the University of Illinois and in 1960 became a professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis where he taught until his death. His critically acclaimed works include the National Book Critics Circle Award-winners George Mills (1982) and Mrs. Ted Bliss (1995), as well as the National Book Award finalists The Dick Gibson Show (1972), Searches & Seizures (1974), and The MacGuffin (1991). His book of novellas, Van Gogh's Room at Arles, was a finalist for the PEN Faulkner Award.

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