Although SIGNED!!) This is a really pretty book. The rough cut pages, the dark blue text, and most importantly, the artwork.
Sacre Bleu is a book about art, if you couldn't figure that out from the subtitle. But it of course has a little of the supernatural woven in because it's Christopher Moore. The story opens with the death of Van Gogh. One day he goes out to paint in a field, shoots himself in the chest and the drags himself a mile to the door of a doctor while raving about a Colorman. But why would he shoot himself and then walk a mile to a doctor? And who is this Colorman Van Gogh said has been following him around France?
|Toulouse's The Laundress*|
Now, I mentioned the whole "trance" thing. And that mysterious Colorman character. This strange little man keeps showing up the artists and offering them paint, especially ultramarine, the Sacre Bleu. This is the color used to paint the Virgin Mary and is extremely rare. The Colorman never accepts money from the artists, who indeed are never really sure they want to buy color from him, although they always seem to end up with some. The artists seem to lose time while painting with it. There are paintings they remember working on but don't seem to be anywhere. And of course there's the matter of Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo about a Colorman following him to Arles.
The Colorman isn't the only mystery character here. Lucien's love, Juliette, broke his heart years before by just disappearing. Suddenly she's returned, with no explanation for where she's been and why she's back. No one trusts Juliette, except Lucien, who can't stay away.
This is, no doubt, a Christopher Moore book. It is his style, his voice, his humor. And yet, it's different than his other works. It's funny but it doesn't have the same laugh-out-loud moments like A Dirty Job and Lamb. But this isn't a bad thing. This may be a more serious comedy, but it's a comedy nonetheless. And it's a story I have a feeling will stick with me.
*This is one of the images included in the book and one I found myself turning back to often.
Title quote from page 241
Moore, Christopher. Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art. HarperCollins, 2012.