Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

  I've read most of Christopher Moore's books, starting around 2007 when my husband lent me Lamb, a fictionalized version of Jesus' "missing years" (he is mentioned in the Bible as a 12 year old and then as a 30 year old and there are no records of what happened in between). I loves Moore's zany brand of humor and silliness. Some of his books stand alone, while others feature the same characters, often in a small town called Pine Cove, which I think is in California.
His last couple books have been a bit different. Fool was about King Lear's jester, and his adventures through Shakespeare's book. Sacre Bleu was also very different. Like Lamb, it can be considered historical fiction. Although Moore takes a lot of liberty with history, I was really surprised by the amount of research that went into this book. He posted chapter guides through facebook and wrote a lengthy note at the end of the book about what was true from his novel.
Initially, I couldn't quite figure out what direction the book was going in, but eventually everything fell into place. The plot follows a baker/inspiring painter named Lucien who lives in the Montmartre section of Paris during the late 1800s. He is friends with several famous painters from Renoir to Toulouse-Lautrec, who is one of the main characters of the story. The book moves back and forth in time between several painters and their interactions with a mysterious Colorman, who sells paints, especially the famous Sacre Bleu, or sacred blue. The book opens with Van Gogh's death, setting the scene for a possible mystery, rather than the suicide that is traditionally associated with Van Gogh. 

Scattered throughout the book are paintings by these famous artists. I recognized many of the works, even though I know very little about art. Most of the artists who make appearances were also familiar, although again, I knew their names more than anything they actually did. Because art isn't really my thing, I didn't think I would enjoy this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Moore's trademark humor was present on every page and the story itself was a very engaging look at color, art and muses. 

I don't want to give away any more, but suffice it to say, I loved this, and I definitely recommend it, whether or not you've experienced a Christopher Moore book before this. If you read Sacre Bleu and like it, check out his other novels. I promise they are all funny and even when the premise seems utterly ridiculous, you can always take something worthwhile from reading them! 


  1. It sounds like a good book but there a few books I'd rather read first...

  2. All right, Ms D, this sounds like one I'd read, especially since I enjoyed 'Biff the Boy' so much! X dids