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 friendsbaker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrecwho 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 historywith 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.
In 1890, Vincent van Gogh appeared before a doctor suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Van Gogh's subsequent death established him as the art world's most famous suicide. But in this rollicking adventure set in late-19th-century France, Van Gogh's friend Lucien Lessard receives a letter written in the painter's final hours that prompts him to investigate further. Lessard soon discovers a mystery revolving around the Colorman, a merchant selling mixed pigments to artists, in particular a rare ultramarine called the Sacred Blue. Joined by the ribald Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Lucien resolves to discover the truth. Narrator Euan Morton delivers an entertaining performance that brings Moore's novel to life. He shifts easily from the refined accents of Monet, Renoir, and Gauguin to the bombast of Toulouse-Lautrec and the Yankee accent of Whistler. With its comic blend of art history, murder mystery, and doomed romance, listeners will be laughing and guessing until the audiobook's conclusion. A William Morrow hardcover.
A Fun Read
Christopher Moore is at his best when using his unique wit and charms to craft historical fiction. As with Lamb, he has imbued the great artist of history with a humanity that is lost amongst the great textbooks and museum plaques of the world. while he does take great liberty with the history, it is always grounded in a sense of realism. Just like the impressionist painters in his book.
About the Ebook. YES!
This book presents beautifully in eBook format. Within the text the color inserts of the paintings are vibrant, more so than on the softer creamier-colored paper of the hardcover. The blue text of the printed version has been reduced to titles; the absent end paper Paris map and the deckle edges are not sorely missed. The cover art of the hardback is partially missing because the title would not show if they had not used the strip wrapper.
This was my first C Moore book. I laughed and cringed at the bawdy traipse through the lives of artists whose work I enjoy. Moore's afterward explanation of his selections from real stories helped me appreciate his work. Irreverence humanizes and endears the art. While much of Moore's humor reminds me of Marx Brothers' silliness, his storytelling links to world-wide myths of tricksters. Sacre Bleu is fun on many levels. Happy to have read it.
Fun Trip Through Late 19th century Art
Interesting for those who love color, fantasy and some hilarious characters ( fiction) but more than a scoop of the truth as well. Toulouse-Lautrec is particularly interesting. Slip slidey and chaotic and funny.