Van Gogh's Bad Cafe: A Love Story

Frederic Tuten, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (192p) ISBN 978-0-688-15134-8
A magical painter in words, Tuten (Tintin in the New World) gets inside the Dutch artist's wounded soul as few writers have. In this exquisite postmodernist fantasy, Ursula, a mercurial, morphine-addicted 19-year-old photographer who is Vincent van Gogh's lover, shuttles back and forth between 19th-century France and present-day New York City. In the East Village, she becomes the roommate and occasional lover of Louis, a down-and-out photographer. Back in time, meanwhile, Tuten's van Gogh is a gaunt, pipe-smoking, half-drunk misfit in a world out of joint, raging with jealousy at other artists. Lonely beyond words and even beyond his own pictures, he seeks a world purged of pain and suffering, so that love and beauty can reign on Earth. Ursula, too, is enthralled by beauty, and seeks to capture it with her camera lens. But in leaving behind the Old World, she experiences dizzying culture shock. To share the burden, Louis agrees to travel back in time, where he drinks and arm-wrestles with the tortured painter. Tuten is a remarkable stylist, able in one sentence to combine the lyricism of a parable with the grit of Avenue B: ""I was ready, already, to live with her and share the common dish, to make children--should she want--and bring home the bacon, if need be... or to become a pair of companionate hawks in our iron love nest atop the Brooklyn Bridge."" Is Ursula just an obsessed 1990s street kid inspiring Louis to fantasize? It's anyone's guess as Tuten gorgeously explores the interface of reality and illusion, art and life, love and death. Illustrated with original color and black-and-white prints by Eric Fischl (not seen by PW). (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Show other formats
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-688-16103-3
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7145-3030-7
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.