Van Gogh's Ear

  • by Bernadette Murphy
  • Narrated by Su Douglas
  • 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On a dark night in Provence in December 1888 Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is an act that has come to define him. Yet for more than a century biographers and historians seeking definitive facts about what happened that night have been left with more questions than answers.
In Van Gogh's Ear Bernadette Murphy sets out to discover exactly what happened that night in Arles. Why would an artist at the height of his powers commit such a brutal act? Who was the mysterious 'Rachel' to whom he presented his macabre gift? Was it just his lobe, or did Van Gogh really cut off his entire ear? Her investigation takes us from major museums to the dusty contents of forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing the world in which Van Gogh moved - the madams and prostitutes, café patrons and police inspectors, his beloved brother Theo and his fellow artist and house-guest Paul Gauguin. With exclusive revelations and new research about the ear and about 'Rachel', Bernadette Murphy proposes a bold new hypothesis about what was occurring in Van Gogh's heart and mind as he made a mysterious delivery to her doorstep that fateful night.
Van Gogh's Ear is a compelling detective story and a journey of discovery. It is also a portrait of a painter creating his most iconic and revolutionary work, pushing himself ever closer to greatness even as he edged towards madness - and one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Superb Detective Story That Destroys Myths

Written like a thriller, I loved the concrete details, in depth analysis and remarkable detailed historical research that flesh out the story of Van Gogh, his relationships and environs.
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- Paul Laurence

Great book, terrible reader

This book captures the thrill of research and explodes many posthumous myths about its subject. However, I was really sorry I had not read it in hard copy as the narration here is of incredibly poor quality. The pronunciation of the French is all over the place, but worse, the reader's emphasis is frequently wrong and her delivery is weirdly staccato, making it very difficult to understand an already complex story. I'd be livid if I was the author as this wonderful book deserves better.
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- Thérèse’s mate

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-07-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks