Betsey V. (Austin, TX)
A case of the "blues."
Moore’s mystical, mordant comedy starts off with a bang—literally. Van Gogh shoots himself in a wheat field, and then walks a mile to seek medical attention. Why try to commit suicide and then ask for help? That is a mystery, one of several in this bawdy revisionist history of the French Masters. It’s an artful madcap romp and roll of fin de siècle France. Sacré bleu refers to an ultramarine color adorned by the Blessed virgin, but it’s also French profanity for blasphemous cursing. In other words, sacré bleu covers territory from the sacred…to the profane, just like Moore’s comedy d’Art of the late nineteenth century Impressionists.
A mystifying woman, Juliette, is the muse for Lucien Lessard, a baker turned painter. Lessard’s closest friend is painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, the bon vivant frequenter of bars, baguettes, and brothels. Henri and Lucien find themselves chasing love and the “blues” in this absurdist, and, to some degree, shaggy dog story where a dwarf and a donkey seem mysteriously connected to the great passions and masterpieces of Seurat, Manet, Pissaro, Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, and others of this era.
Colorful anecdotes of the great painters add fine brushstrokes to the story’s ribald and ruddy complexion, and are just as entertaining as the story’s central premise. The principal twister is dragged out to a long-winded finale, so that the reader is ready for it to end at about 80 of the way through. However, it is a thought provoking and satisfying conclusion. Also, Moore gives us more with a tantalizing afterword.
Margaret B. (pompano beach, florida)
If you ever tried to mix a certain shade of blue paint you can understand the problems artists in the 1900 had trying to succeed.
Blue was impossible without the help of certain minerals that the "colorman" would sell to the artists. The paint would be mixed with turpentine and the fumes would cause hallucinations.
I loved the conversations and ways of life of the artists. Just imagine listening to van Gogh and Gauguin discuss their paintings over a glass of wine.
I always imagined the poor artists huddled in dark corners and starving. They were poor but all were willing to help others. Stores would ask for paintings on the walls so they would be sold "for a fee"
This is a great story of artists life in Paris .
Margaret D. (VT)
Huge amount of fun!
This is a colorful, twisting art(ist) mystery. An earthy combination of art history and fantasy that kept me seated quite happily through several wintery days. I shall seek out Christopher Moore's earlier works.
Neil W. (Tavares, FL)
An Effort to Entertain
This book is an attempt to portray the life of famous artists in Paris around the turn of the 20th Century in a creative and humorous way. The writing is mediocre and the plot thin. I did not find it particularly humorous or entertaining
Michael P. (San Marcos, CA)
My first Christopher Moore book
I didn't know what to expect so I entered cautiously. It is unlike anything I'd read before, but in a good way. Fun story with a great dry sense of humor. I enjoyed the characters the most, particularly Henri. (I wanted to hang out with him!). Recommended.
Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL)
What do you get when you mix the Impressionist painters, mysterious deaths, time travel, life in fin de siècle Paris and irreverent humor? You get Christopher Moore’s new novel, Sacre Bleu. As a lover of art history and historical fiction, I enjoyed traveling back to fin de siècle Paris when Impressionist painting was in its infancy. If that wasn’t interesting enough, Moore ‘s story is interwoven with time travel and stories about the mysterious Colorman, and the Colorman’s dubious influence upon artists throughout the ages. Humorously clever, I enjoyed how the humor was intricately woven into the historical and not so historical facts of the period.
Loren B. (Appleton, WI)
NOT Art History 101
I realize that Christopher Moore is known for his irreverent treatment of various subjects, but I really couldn't get past the frat-boy "humor". This could have been an interesting take on that particular era in art history otherwise.