Carol Wallace is the author of numerous books, including The Official Preppy Handbook, which she coauthored. Leaving Van Gogh is her first historical novel. A graduate of Princeton University, Wallace received a M.A. in art history from Columbia University in 2006. The research for her M.A. thesis provided the foundation for Leaving Van Gogh. From her Q & A with Alexandra Cheney at the Wall Street Journal:
The Wall Street Journal: Within the folds of the book, what is the starkest yet important detail?Learn more about the book and author at Carol Wallace's website.
Carole Wallace: The contrast between the city and the country outside it. It is so stark in the book. The impulse to escape and get out and see trees and the weather, spring in the country is so strong for Vincent. What doesn’t make it into the book is when he arrived in Paris and then later when one day goes back to Paris from Auver-sur-Oise and he can’t really take it.
Do you think the city was too much for him?
There’s a strong sense of the city that is too much for him. There are too many contacts, too many people to see so he folded up and had to flee. The whole book occurs when had to get out and be in the country. On the other hand his paintings look they way they do live because of the time he lived with his brother in city. He saw how urban scenes were painted. And there’s a kind of dichotomy in his work. He got a great deal out of the city but couldn’t always stand to live there.
What surprised you in researching of the book?
You know what was very gratifying, how...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Leaving Van Gogh.
Writers Read: Carol Wallace.