By Sam Meekings
Who is that mournful man in the painting? The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet tells the story of Paul Ferdinand Gachet, the subject of one of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous portraits: one that shows what the artist called ‘the heartbroken expression of our times’. But what caused such heartbreak? This thrilling historical novel follows Doctor Gachet from asylums to art galleries, from the bloody siege of Paris to life with Van Gogh in Auvers, and from the bunkers of Nazi Germany to a reclusive billionaire in Tokyo, to uncover the secrets behind that grief-stricken smile.
Sam Meekings is a British poet and novelist. He has spent the last ten years travelling and working in China and the Middle East. He currently balances his time between writing, teaching, raising two children as a single father, and drinking copious amounts of tea.
The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet is a story about a painting, and the subject of a painting. It is a profound meditation on history, truth and storytelling. Above all, it is beautifully written, poignant and highly original. - Jonathan Taylor, Author of Take Me Home
In this gorgeous novel, Meekings interrogates the very origins of sadness. By the novel’s end, we all fall under the writer’s scrutinizing gaze: our sadnesses, our assumptions, our souls. Meekings’ skilful prose, ranging from past to present to future, sweeps the narrative in dazzling bursts of light alongside quiet contemplation of the dark. A stunning read. - Lania Knight, Author of Remnant
A poetic evocation of the country and its people. His exuberance and verve win out.- The New York Times
Lavishly imagined and skillfully narrated. - The Independent
An intriguing new talent. Historical fiction is at something of a discount right now. This revives it, freshly. - The Herald
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The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet by Sam Meekings
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