Day 941: Let Me Tell You about a Man I Knew

Cover for Let Me Tell You About a Man I KnewLet me first get this over with. I have rarely encountered a book title that seems so inappropriate to the actual book. This title, which seems so similar to the opening of a 60’s Ray Charles song, is for a historical novel about a fictional relationship between an ordinary woman and Vincent Van Gogh.

That over with, the book itself is another matter. Susan Fletcher’s Corrag was one of my favorite books a few years ago. Even though I have missed some of her others, I was excited to hear about this one. It did not disappoint.

Jeanne Trabuc is the wife of Charles, who runs the mental asylum in Saint-Rémy. She finds herself in a lonely time of life. Her best friend has left town, and her boys have gone off to lead their own lives. She and her husband sleep separately, and she feels unloved. He has many rules about how the house should be run. She feels separate from the other women in the village, whom she feels gossip too much.

link to NetgalleyThere have been no arrivals at the asylum in years, so Jeanne’s interest is piqued when she hears a Dutch painter is coming. Charles does not allow her near the asylum, but she sees the man in the olive orchard painting and begins talking to him. Slowly, she finds herself wondering how she became what she is, instead of the adventurous girl she was.

This novel is more about Jeanne than Van Gogh, but it is touching and compelling. Jeanne Trabuc and her husband were actual people that Van Gogh painted, but Fletcher tells us that the lives she has created for them within the novel are entirely fictional. This novel is about the silences that can grow between people.

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4 thoughts on “Day 941: Let Me Tell You about a Man I Knew

  1. Helen July 26, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    It does seem an unusual choice of title – you would never be able to guess what the book was about! I’ve read Corrag and remember loving Susan Fletcher’s writing, so I’m interested in reading this one.

    • whatmeread July 26, 2016 / 3:09 pm

      This one was good, but I loved Corrag!

  2. Naomi July 27, 2016 / 9:08 am

    This sounds like something I would like. It sounds like I should check out her other books, as well!

    • whatmeread July 27, 2016 / 9:49 am

      Be careful. One of her books has two different titles. That is Corrag, but it’s called something else with the word “witch” in it. I think that may be the U.S. edition, but I’m not sure. Corrag was great!

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