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Humor Review – Sacré Bleu

 

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore

 

Review by Gail (TinkerPirate)

Let me be perfectly clear. I am a HUGE Christopher Moore fan. But, I have to say that I would have enjoyed this book even if I wasn’t a HUGE fan!

In books past, Mr. Moore has taken us on adventures set on exotic islands, in small coastal California villages, and roaming the dark streets of San Francisco. The adventures have take us back to biblical times or reminded us that adventures lurk in the present day or allowed us to find ourselves something in between like the court of King Lear. This time Moore takes us to a magical time and place…if you love art…late 19th century Paris!

There are 4 main characters to the story – a mysterious person known only as The Colorman, who provides artists with the most rare of colors – sacre bleu (the sacred blue…the color of Virgin Mary’s robe); an equally mysterious woman, who is known by many names to many people; Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, commonly known as Toulouse-Lautrec; and Lucien Lessard, known as…well…Lucien Lessard, who is a baker with the soul of a painter from a long line of bakers with the souls of painters. His father always wanted to paint, but felt he didn’t have the skills to pull it off. Instead, he befriended many of the local struggling artists ensuring they always had bread to eat, a sou or two for paints, and a place to hide when needed. As a result, Mssr. Lessard grew up surrounded by some of my favorite artists – Manet, Monet, Pisarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc. These fostered his love for art and desire to paint…if he could just find another muse.

The story starts with the murder…yes, murder not suicide…of Vincent Van Gogh. When word reaches the Parisian art community, there is shock and disbelief. Mssrs. Lessard and Toulouse-Lautrec feel compelled to find out what really happened. The more they look the more they find it to be suspicious, instead of coincidental, that The Colorman seems to be close by at the death of artists or the creation of a master piece. Who is The Colorman? Where does he get his sacre bleu? And, why does this mysterious woman seem to be involved in all of this? Why can’t they keep a maid?

While answering these questions, Mr. Moore takes us to the main streets and back alleys of Paris, the French countryside and country estates, and into the galleries and contests that pit one struggling artist against another. Along the way we are introduced to the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris. We learn about life in the brothels that Mssr. Toulouse-Lautrec frequents…alright, pretty much lives in; life in a French bakery where the doneness of a baguette is tested with a smack to the head; and the absurdities of life when reality and fiction collide.

I will provide 2 caveats about the book –

  1. You don’t need to be an art historian to get caught up in the story, but it does help “get” some of the finer pokes at history. I’ll admit there were moments when I wished I’d paid better attention in my freshman year Art Appreciation class, but – as the French say – c’est la vie.
  2. If you are looking for the typical SNORT-laugh of a Moore book, you won’t find it here. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of LOL moments and lovably absurd phrases that will stay with you after you put the book down.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the book is reproduction of many of the finest works of this period with quotes from the storyline. Some of them were pretty funny and apropos. And, for those of you who ARE Moore fans, I think you will find Mssr. Toulouse-Lautrec very Biff-like.

 

If you would like to try on a Moore for size, here are some of his books that are actually NOT Wish Listed!

 

Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

You Suck: A Love Story

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “Humor Review – Sacré Bleu”

  1. Diane G. (icesk8tr) , says:

    I love his books!!

  2. Cindi W. (bookladyofhmb) says:

    I am also a big fan of his books, 2nd only behind Tink. If I were asked to write a list of all the Moore books in order from my favorite (Lamb, followed closely by Island of the Sequined Love Nun, Stupidest Angel so close in the polls it might actually BE second but no one is sure without a hand count) Sacre Bleu would be at the bottom. I’m glad I read it, it wasn’t a waste of time but when I read Christopher Moore it’s with the anticipation of Snort out-loud humor, the kind where my husband comes from the other room to find out what I’m up to because I’m laughing so much in a room where I am alone. This one doesn’t have that, it has a few moments to make me smile and for any other author that would be great. But Mr. Moore has proven over & over that he has the talent to make me fall over with laughter…make me babble about how hilarious his books are to everyone I meet…this one doesn’t do that & I’m bummed. It’s a good book, but good is not good enough for Christopher Moore’s talent.

  3. ANNA S. (SanJoseCa) says:

    Hi Gail, great review!
    Paris, art, and Moores crazy humor….I know I’m going to love this one!

  4. Sianeka N Hollywood, CA says:

    I’ve not yet read Christopher Moore, but I think I need to find out about these Laugh Out Loud books. What is a good recommendation for a starting point for his books?

  5. ANNA S. (SanJoseCa) says:

    Sianeka,
    LAMB is my favorite novel (so far) by Moore. Not only is it funny, but very poignant. I recommend to my friends to start out with LAMB. I feel if you can’t “get into” LAMB, you probably will not care for his other novels.

  6. Gail P. (TinkerPirate) Montara, CA says:

    Sianeka!!!! How’s life on land???

    The other one to start with is A Dirty Job or Practical Demonkeeping.

  7. Sianeka N Hollywood, CA says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll be looking for these at my UBS and/or also setting up to get them here!

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