I am an unabashed fan of Christopher Moore’s work. While I have not read every book he’s written, I have read most of them and whenever I need a good belly laugh, I seek out another. There are few authors who can convincingly make a talking, cross-dressing fruit bat a main character in a novel. Yes, you read that right … a fruit bat. The bat appears in “Island of the Sequined Love Nun,” in case your interest is piqued.
“Sacre Bleu” is the latest Moore novel I’ve spent time with. It’s not usually enough time, however, because I get so engrossed in his stories that I read them quickly. (The solution is that Christopher Moore needs to write longer books.)
While many of Moore’s novels take place in California, this one is set in France in the era of the Impressionistic painters. As an artist, I was hooked immediately with the subject. The story follows the relationship between the enigmatic Colorman and his beguiling assistant Bleu as they encourage various Impressionists to use their pigments, particularly a special shade of blue. Bleu is very good at working her way into the lives of the artists.
Note the wonderful blue book cover. And, yes, Bleu is nude under the protective wrap.
This is a historical novel, which is unusual for Christopher Moore. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is the hero of the story. Other Impressionists, like Van Gogh, Renoir, and Seurat, make appearances. Perhaps because it was a change in pace for Moore, it was not as uproariously funny as his other books. That was fine because it was an engaging novel, but it was a little surprising.
At the end of the book, Moore explains which details about the artists’ lives were true. In reading his explanation, I realized that I had picked up on the accurate details readily.
“Sacre Bleu” is a great read.
You can find out more about it from the author himself in this NPR article.