Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore

Not what the hardcover edition
will look like, but both are pretty.

NOTE: This book will be released on Tuesday, April 3rd. Go out and take a look at it, it promises to be a bestselling book :)

So anyway, I received this novel as an advance reader's copy through my job as a bookseller, and am quite pleased I grabbed it up before someone else was able to. I've never read a Christopher Moore book before, and after Sacré Bleu, I can't understand why I never have. 5 out of 5 stars for my first Chris Moore novel, and I can't wait to grab some of his earlier works.

From the publisher: 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 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 the color 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 behind 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. Along the way, Lucien will learn that, years earlier, his father's friends Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, and Cézanne were all haunted by the same strange little Colorman... and always, eternally, a mysterious woman in blue.

My thoughts: Like I said before, I'm very disappointed in myself for having waited so long to pick up a Chris Moore novel. This was gripping and entrancing, and had the reputed Moore wit and humor that I've heard so much about. 
I am really enjoying this historical/biographical fiction kick that I've been on (see my reviews on the Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik, I've written reviews on the first 5 of them, and here's the fifth and most recent one).
I particularly liked that this was a biographical fiction; so much research was put into this story to ensure that the facts were down straight, and the characters (mostly) accurately portrayed their real-life counterparts. This wasn't just thrown together, and this wasn't a typical mystery thriller set in France. Who would've thought that van Gogh's suicide could, in an alternate world, be just a hint at mystery and intrigue in the art world of late nineteenth century Paris? I certainly couldn't have, as I knew next to nothing about France and the lives of these renowned artists. It was very interesting to learn about how artists obtained their colors before the advent of industrialization and modern color-making techniques, and even more interesting to get a better backstory on these artists. I should really consider reading more nonfiction, particularly memoirs and biographies, because they are always so eye-opening to me. It's always fun to learn about things through a different perspective or light, and alternate histories and historical fictions are a great place to start.

I highly recommend this book (again, 5 of 5 stars), and seriously have plenty of new books to add to my ever growing, never shrinking to-read book list. 

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