Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D’Art
In July 1890, Vincent Van Gough went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his own life… and then walk a mile to a doctor’s house for help? Who was the crooked little “color man” Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue?
A magnificent “Comedy d’Art” from the author of Lamb, Fool, and Bite Me, Moore’s Sacré Bleu is part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious as it follows a young baker-painter as he joins the dapper Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed “suicide” of Vincent van Gogh.
Click to read what I thought.
I am a huge fan of Christopher Moore, he is a local author (San Francisco) and he has a specific style that appeals to me. His characters are odd and sometimes silly yet full of heart. Many of his books take place in the same world and have overlapping storylines for his favorite supporting characters. I love this, most likely because of Hanna Barbara and my love of Archie Comics growing up. This story is similar because Moore takes the most influential painters of the late 19th century and placed them in Paris over the course of this story. You have Van Gough, Seurat, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec & so many other talented artists brought together by a special shade of blue.
My favorite aspect of this story was Bohemian Paris. If time travel were possible Paris circa 1890 would be the era I would shoot for. Just imagine painters, writers and can-can dancers in one city drinking Absinthe in famous night spots like the Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir until the sun rises. The city is a character on its own and it creates an amazing backdrop for each of the artists’ storylines. Moore manages to transport the reader to Paris at a time where some of the most renowned painters are friends and you get to peek into their process. Moore weaves fictitious stories behind the most amazing artwork of this era and the women who influenced them. Another thing I enjoy about this author is that he is amazingly thorough with his research and gives a believable voice to how he has written versions of these well-known artists.
I would recommend this story for anyone who has even a small interest in art. When you read the summary Van Gough’s suicide sets off this whole story and the curious entity is a certain shade of blue. This shade is present throughout this witty story and it makes you appreciate the subtle uses of color in these masterpieces. When I realized that a color was the villain in this book I had to read it right away.
P.S. The ink they use to print this book is Blue. Love the attention to detail!