Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art

4.0 103
by Christopher Moore
     
 

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It is the color of the Virgin Mary's cloak, a dazzling pigment desired by artists, an exquisite hue infused with danger, adventure, and perhaps even the supernatural. It is . . .

SacrÉ Bleu

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh 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

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Overview

It is the color of the Virgin Mary's cloak, a dazzling pigment desired by artists, an exquisite hue infused with danger, adventure, and perhaps even the supernatural. It is . . .

SacrÉ Bleu

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh 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?

These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends—baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec—who vow to discover the truth about van Gogh's untimely death. Their quest will lead them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late nineteenth-century Paris.

Oh lÀ lÀ, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history—with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure—SacrÉ Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Art history is playfully—and perilously—rewritten in this ambitious novel by bestseller Moore (Bite Me). Working backward from the death of Vincent Van Gogh in 1890, we meet frustrated painter and favored son of a Paris bakery family, Lucien Lessard, whose best pal happens to be Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, that fabled frequenter of brothels. All his life, Lucien has heard words of wisdom and tutelage not only from Toulouse-Lautrec, but also Renoir, Pissarro, and Theo Van Gogh. But after Toulouse-Lautrec receives a strange letter from Van Gogh, dated just before his death, the two begin to investigate “the Colorman,” an odd figure who sold the titular brilliant ultramarine paint to all of these fabled painters during their most prolific, mad, and forgotten periods of work (the Colorman’s arrivals also coincided with the painters’ most intense love affairs). During their investigation, Lucien and Toulouse-Lautrec will discover that the mystery and Lucien’s muse, Juliette, are intimately connected. Spanning nearly 30 years—with a brief interlude in Roman times—the story is steeped in Western art: Renaissance Italy; medieval cathedrals; the fields and studios of pre, post, and high impressionism. Though the question at the story’s heart is less interesting than the fictional anecdotes about the great masters, fans of Moore’s mix of wit and slapstick will be pleased. Photos. Agent: Nicholas Ellison, the Nicholas Ellison Agency. (Apr. 3)
Playboy
“If there’s a funnier writer out there, step forward.”
Dallas Morning News
“Often funny, sometimes hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters and ministerial students of the kind who come to our doorstep on Saturday mornings.”
USA Today
“A laugh-a-page novel that’s raunchy and irreverent.”
People
“A vampire comedy that’s witty, bright and funny.”
Booklist
“[W]all-to-wall, farcical fornicating and fighting…a jolly good time can be had.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“In transforming “King Lear” into a potty-mouthed jape, Moore is up to more than thumbing his nose at a masterpiece. His version of Shakespeare’s Fool, who accompanies Lear on his slide from paternal arrogance to spiritual desolation in the original text, simultaneously honors and imaginatively enriches the character.”
Rocky Mountain News
“An instant classic . . . terrific, funny and poignant.
BookPage
“[H]ilarious, educational, and original. . . . [I]t is difficult to put the book down, for there are astonishing new developments on every page.”
Washington Post Book World
“Moore has produced eight books that deftly blend surreal, occult and even science-fiction doings with laugh-out-loud satire of contemporary culture. Powered by engines of the abnormal and unlikely, his tales feature eccentric lowlifes who find their desperate existences hilariously remade by intrusions from other spheres.”
Christian Science Monitor
“It’s hard to resist so gleeful a tale of murder, witchcraft, treason, maiming, and spanking. . . . Moore’s deft ear for dialogue keeps the pages turning . . . Fool is a wickedly good time.”
Bookreporter.com
“I can’t emphasize enough how funny BITE ME is.”
Valdosta Times (Georgia)
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
Library Journal
Moore (Fool; You Suck) set out to write a book about the color blue. What he ended up with is a surprisingly complex novel full of love, death, art, and mystery. When baker-turned-aspiring artist Lucien Lessard, whose father was friends with some of the preeminent French artists of the late 19th century, receives a special tube of vibrant blue paint from the mysterious Juliette, his amateurish painting becomes masterly and his life becomes a mess. Obsessed with painting and loving Juliette, Lucien must discover the mystery of the blue paint, the origins of Juliette, and the identity of her near-constant companion, the frighteningly sinister Colorman who haunted other artists like Van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro, and Cézanne. In the end, the true question for Lucien is, "At what price art?" VERDICT Don't let Moore's quirky characters and bawdy language fool you. His writing has depth, and his peculiar take on the impressionists will reel you in. One part art history (with images of masterpieces interspersed with the narrative), one part paranormal mystery, and one part love story, this is a worthy read. Considering the large marketing push and Moore's rabid fan base, expect demand. [Nine-city tour; see Prepub Alert, 10/9/11.]—Jennifer Beach, Cumberland Cty. P.L., VA
Kirkus Reviews
An aspiring painter and unabashed romantic joins the greatest artists of the age in chasing his muse across fin de siècle–era France. There are really two ages and two operating modes for hugely popular comedic writer Moore (The Griff, 2011, etc.). There's the deceptively easy humor of his early California novels, which only gets sharper and funnier in his San Francisco–based vampire novels. But from time to time, Moore gets obsessed with a particular subject, lending a richer layer to his peculiar brand of irreverent humor--see Lamb (2003), Fluke (2003) and Fool (2009) for examples. Here, the author gets art deeply under his fingernails for a wryly madcap and sometimes touching romp through the late 19th century. The story surrounds the mysterious suicide of Vincent van Gogh, who famously shot himself in a French wheat field only to walk a mile to a doctor's house. The mystery, which is slowly but cleverly revealed through the course of the book, is blue: specifically the exclusive ultramarine pigment that accents pictures created by the likes of Michelangelo and van Gogh. To find the origin of the hue, Moore brings on Lucien Lessard, a baker, aspiring artist and lover of Juliette, the brunette beauty who breaks his heart. After van Gogh's death, Lucien joins up with the diminutive force of nature Henri Toulouse-Lautrec to track down the inspiration behind the Sacré Bleu. In the shadows, lurking for centuries, is a perverse paint dealer dubbed The Colorman, who tempts the world's great artists with his unique hues and a mysterious female companion who brings revelation--and often syphilis (it is Moore, after all). Into the palette, Moore throws a dizzying array of characters, all expertly portrayed, from the oft-drunk "little gentleman" to a host of artists including Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Moore's humor is, as ever, sweetly juvenile, but his arty comedy also captures the courage and rebellion of the Impressionists with an exultant joie de vivre.

John Wilwol
[Lucien and Toulouse-Lautrec] make for a splendid dynamic duo. Lucien is a starry-eyed romantic for whom stories about famous paintings "were the fairy tales of his childhood," while Toulouse-Lautrec, when he's not with a French prostitute, is an unfailingly loyal comic hero…Moore's work has tended to fall into what one critic called the "zonked-out comic horror" category, but Sacre Bleu is different. Let's call it a historical comedy, with an emphasis on the comedy. There's even a soupcon of art criticism…
—The Washington Post
The Oregonian (Portland)
“[A] marvelous, tongue-in-cheek, mythical explanation of the artistic urge... brought vividly to life.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Sacré Bleu is a consistently compelling blend of love story, mystery, and ‘what if?’ art history lesson.”
Houston Chronicle
“Captivating . . . Those familiar with Moore’s work will love this rich story, which is full of gleefully anachronistic behavior and language--often pun-based--coming from artists we ordinarily revere.”
Dallas News
“The true joy in Sacré Bleu stems from Moore’s writing....His writing contains the rare combination of poetry and humor; where one moment you find yourself rereading a passage for its sublime imagery, and the next, you are grinning over a well-placed wisecrack....an excellent novel.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“[A]nother exceedingly bizarre, often raucous, and consistently delightful journey into the sweetly demented mind of novelist Christopher Moore.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sacre Bleu is big fun.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on SACRE BLEU
“Christopher Moore’s new novel blends diligently researched art history smoothly with his fevered, fiendish imagination.”
Washington Post Book World on Sacre Bleu
“[A] delightfully ribald romp.”
People Magazine
"A vampire comedy that’s witty, bright and funny."
Jeff Lindsay
“Funny, literate, smart and sexy, all at once!”
Valdosta Times (Georgia) on FOOL
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
Booklist on FOOL
“[W]all-to-wall, farcical fornicating and fighting…a jolly good time can be had.”
San Francisco Chronicle on FOOL
“In transforming “King Lear” into a potty-mouthed jape, Moore is up to more than thumbing his nose at a masterpiece. His version of Shakespeare’s Fool, who accompanies Lear on his slide from paternal arrogance to spiritual desolation in the original text, simultaneously honors and imaginatively enriches the character.”
Christian Science Monitor on FOOL
“It’s hard to resist so gleeful a tale of murder, witchcraft, treason, maiming, and spanking. . . . Moore’s deft ear for dialogue keeps the pages turning . . . Fool is a wickedly good time.”
USA Today on FOOL
“Moore is a very clever boy when it comes to words. There are good chuckles to be had in this tale. …Whether you need to read the original King Lear before you read Moore’s Fool is debatable. Seems a fool’s errand to us. Just enjoy.”
Dallas Morning News on FOOL
“Often funny, sometimes hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters and ministerial students of the kind who come to our doorstep on Saturday mornings.”
Booklist on SACRE BLEU
“Mingling comedy and mystery, Moore crafts an intricate story that teases the reader with numerous twists and bawdy humor.…[T]his is an imaginative and amusing look at the Impressionist era, and Moore’s prose is fresh and engaging.”
The Oregonian (Portland) on SACRE BLEU
“[A] marvelous, tongue-in-cheek, mythical explanation of the artistic urge... brought vividly to life.”
USA Today on SACRE BLEU
“Can Moore find the funny in gloomy Van Gogh? If anybody can-can, count on Moore.”
Entertainment Weekly on SACRE BLEU
“Sacré Bleu is a consistently compelling blend of love story, mystery, and ‘what if?’ art history lesson.”
Houston Chronicle on SACRE BLEU
“Captivating . . . Those familiar with Moore’s work will love this rich story, which is full of gleefully anachronistic behavior and language—often pun-based—coming from artists we ordinarily revere.”
Dallas News on Sacre Bleu
“The true joy in Sacré Bleu stems from Moore’s writing....His writing contains the rare combination of poetry and humor; where one moment you find yourself rereading a passage for its sublime imagery, and the next, you are grinning over a well-placed wisecrack....an excellent novel.”
Philadelphia Inquirer on SACRE BLEU
“[A]nother exceedingly bizarre, often raucous, and consistently delightful journey into the sweetly demented mind of novelist Christopher Moore.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press on SACRE BLEU
Sacre Bleu is big fun.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061779749
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
1,492,749
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.42(d)

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Jeff Lindsay
“Funny, literate, smart and sexy, all at once!”

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