Van Gogh's Room at Arles: Three Novellas
The author of more than a dozen novels and short-story collections, Stanley Elkin is a master of tragicomedy. His rants, jokes, and characters leave readers torn between laughter and tears and nowhere is Elkin’s sense of humor more manic or more depressing than in this collection of three novellas. “Her Sense of Timing” relates a destructive day in the life of a wheelchair-bound professor 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. “Confessions of a Princess Manque” is the story 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.