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Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
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Sacre Bleu (edition 2012)

by Christopher Moore, Euan Morton (Reader)

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975808,958 (3.72)77
Member:G_Riv
Title:Sacre Bleu
Authors:Christopher Moore
Other authors:Euan Morton (Reader)
Info:HarperAudio (2012), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Read, Unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:book club, speculative

Work details

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore

Recently added byirunsjh, mattenglishpt, private library, MadmaHord, boogirl13, gypsysmom, Kellswitch

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
An alternate look at art, inspiration and the color blue.
This is my first Christopher Moore book and it was a rocky start. I never really liked Lucien Lessard or the characters of Juliette or the Colorman so when they were on the page the story just dragged to a halt and was hard to get through. But when the author focused on Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Monet or Pissaro the words and story sprang to life and I tore through the book...until it focused on Lucien again...the second half of the book spent a lot more time with Toulouse-Lautre with Lucien and that helped a great deal. To me it really feels as though the author WANTED to spend time with the actual artists and their world but HAD to spend time with Lucien and the others so those sections of the book are full of life and color and the rest are a bit flat.

The story itself was interesting, if not to hard to figure out where it was going and I loved the feel of Paris and the time period the author created, I just wish the original characters he created felt as life like as the world he put them in. ( )
  Kellswitch | May 14, 2015 |
meh. sort of funny, but the humor seems a little forced.
another variation on what seems to be becoming Morre's standard plot:
supernatural being (muse, vampire, ...) falls in love with human. ( )
  amareshjoshi | Mar 29, 2015 |
one of those books that explains lots of obscure history in a fantastical/supernatural way using wit and humor and clever plot devices (eg Talouse-Latrec in steam-powered stiltshoes). if this were made into a movie it would be a genre-bender walking the lines of comedy, horror, and historical romance.

i liked all the color used in the book itself, too. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
One of my college roommates was an art history major. What she studied always seemed so fascinating. And yet I never did take art history myself. I don't know whether it just didn't fit my schedule time-wise or if there was another reason, equally weak. But since then, I have often found myself reading about famous artists and their muses, their crazy (sometimes literally) and tortured lives, and the times that they lived in so Sacre Bleu was a no brainer for me to read. That I generally love Christopher Moore's works made it all that more certain that this book would come to live on my shelves. Somehow, though, despite the subject matter and the author wielding it, I didn't love this one.

Opening right after the news of Van Gogh's death, his friends Lucien Lessard and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec decide to investigate the somewhat suspicious suicide: shooting himself in the chest and then walking a mile to a doctor. They are caught by his fear of the color blue and a comment about the Colorman which will send them off on a romp through the world of Post-Impressionism, the production of ultramarine, and the roots of creative inspiration. Lucien is a baker and painter whose father introduced him into the art world and to the coterie of artists in Montmartre in the late 1800s. As Lucien and Toulouse-Lautrec try to uncover the identity of the Colorman and the secret behind his sacred blue color, Lucien, like so many artists before him, is captured by the muse in the form of a woman, Juliette. He is obsessed with her, painting an enormous blue nude and falling sick, almost to death of it. His experience, coupled with Toulouse-Lautrec's and their combined knowledge of other painters' experiences painting as well start to reveal the secret of the Colorman. To say more would be to reveal too much.

Like a typical Moore, there is much off-color bawdy humor and a zany, zigzagging plot. There is plenty of his signature absurdity and irreverence and the book is incredibly well-researched. Those with any art history knowledge will see much true history shining through the otherwise absurd story. Those who are not familiar with the big names of the Post-Impressionist movement might have a more difficult time untangling the fanciful from that based on reality. Moore plays with the idea of the creative muse, madness, and the idea of immortality through art. He takes the concept of an artist infusing his own love and pain into the very paint on the canvas and warps it in a very Moore-ish kind of way. And of course, as any reader expects of Moore's books, there are all sorts of penis jokes, a reanimated corpse, a slowing or stopping of time, and a fair bit of debauchery included here. But somehow, despite the hallmarks of his work being fully present, this novel was still surprisingly slow and plodding. The narrative jumped back and forth in time--sometimes quite far back--in not only Lucien's life but also the Colorman's and the elusive Bleu's. It wandered far and wide, touching on artists of every stripe. Perhaps the idea was too broad, examining the origins of a single color or perhaps the real lives of the artists were already too close to a Christopher Moore book, but this was missing the wonderful spark that has so infused his other novels. ( )
  whitreidtan | Mar 6, 2015 |
Description: A rollicking tale that features special printed map endpapers and more than two dozen masterpieces of art throughout the book, Sacré Bleu is better than a day at the museum!

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.

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.

Thoughts: I really love Christopher Moore. His books are ALWAYS darkly hilarious and sometimes surprisingly moving. I love the oafish, irreverent charm of many of his heroes.

With Sacré Bleu, Moore has tapped into his more reserved and thoughtful side, something seen in his books Lamb and Fool. Reading the first several chapters, I was actually really surprised at the quality of the prose. I mean, Moore isn't a bad writer by any means, but I don't usually spend much time thinking about his prose. It's also really clear that Moore did his homework: the sheer number of artworks referenced (and images included in the text) and the familiarity with the artists lives and relationships is quite impressive. I actually learned a lot about painters and a time period I thought I knew fairly well.

As for the story itself, it's very creative and smart with plenty of Moore staples: an otherworldly being (the level of which hasn't been seen since Catch from Practical Demonkeeping), murder, and plenty of sex jokes. The way that Moore re-envisages the role of certain paintings and how they came to be is really fascinating. And, as usual, some of his characters are WONDERFUL! Henri Toulouse-Latrec is HILARIOUS and I totally wanted to hang out with him. Le Professuer (I and II) was great. Madame Lessard was spectacular. I could go on and on.

There was, to be fair, a little of a wobbly bit about 3/4 through the book where I got a bit lost and thought the story lost some of its charm. I think it pulled out of the slump fine, but can admit that the end wasn't as impressive as the beginning. Not bad by any means, just a little less awesome.

I can easily recommend this one to Moore fans and I think most people who appreciate dark humor or are interested in fantasy reimaginings of history should enjoy it too.

**Note: A word on the art shown in the book: It's not always easy to see details of the paintings in the small format, and looking at the art along with the reading was really important for me. My advice is to have a computer handy while reading and check out the Google Art Project as you go. Not all of the paintings are imaged yet, but it's a lot of fun and very informative to check out the ones that are, especially in the bits of the story where Moore is talking about color theory or painting techniques or relaying the (possible) history of the painting and it's models. For example, Manet's Luncheon on the Grass is discussed at length and there is an image in the book, but it's small and you can't get a great feel for it- you can hardly see the woman in the background at all. But, if you check it out here, you can blow it up, zoom in, and really get a good look. It's GREAT! Seeing the works of art as you read really does add a lot to the story.

http://www.librarything.com/topic/134084#3344283 ( )
  leahbird | Jan 13, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Mooreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morton, EuanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I always feel like a traveler, going somewhere, toward some destination. If I sense that this destination doesn't in fact exist, that seems to me quite reasonable and very likely true. -Vincent van Gogh, July 22, 1988

Well, I have risked my life for my work, and it has cost me half my reason-- -Vincent van Gogh, July 23, 1890
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This is a story about the color blue.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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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Baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec vow to discover the truth behind the untimely death of their friend Vincent van Gogh, which leads them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late-nineteenth-century Paris.… (more)

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