The Season of Migration

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The Season of Migration
256 pages; Straus and Giroux
This lyrical novel follows the years that Vincent van Gogh spent as a preacher in a downtrodden village in Belgium, where 40-year-old men work in the mines and footprints in the snow are lined with a black rim of coal dust. Despite his best intentions, Van Gogh's relationship with 17-year-old Angeline leads him to move from his comfortable, warm home to an abandoned hut—where he must face a villagewide tragedy alone. The novel unfolds through letters to his brother, Theo, and third-person passages set a year later—the combination revealing the unexpected story of a man forced to question everything he believes in. Along the way, look out for small, inspired delights of language, such as when Van Gogh describes his brother's scent as "a little sweet and a little musty, like a basket of raspberries shut in a cellar—each a glittering ray of light in a vast and starry night."
— Stephanie Klose