Note: I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.
Graphic novels can be a very good way to convey a real life story. One of the best examples is Maus by Art Spiegelman, another good one is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I’m always drawn to these types of works, so when I saw one about the painter Paul Gauguin I couldn’t resist.
This work is about the last few years of Gauguin’s life, when he moved to Atuona on the island of Hiva-Oa in the Marquesas Islands. It describes his last years, from his arrival on the island to his death, but also the visit to the island by Victor Segalen, when he is trying to piece together the life Gauguin led, between the auction of his possessions on Hiva-Oa and the auction of his work in Papeete. The story is told mostly through imagery, with some dialogue between the famous characters, all famous in their association with Gauguin. It flips between the story of Gauguin and Segalen.
Besides that he is a famous French painter who liked to paint Tahitian nudes, I know next to nothing about Gauguin, his life, his activism (a big part in this book), his work and his death. Because of that (I think) this book didn’t really teach me about Gauguin’s final days. I found it a very confusing mess, and I couldn’t retell the story if I wanted to. I think this is a nice book if you already know quite a bit about Gauguin, to illustrate what you know. To learn about him, this isn’t the right work. For me, this was three out of five stars.