by Stanley Elkin
Publication Date: 02/28/2003
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.