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Category Archives: Christopher Moore

Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Title: Sacré Bleu
Author: Christopher Moore
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 416

The Gist: 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.

The Review:  I enjoyed Sacré Bleus uniqueness and I’m impressed with Moore’s mix of historical fact with surrealism and fantasy to bring Paris’s late 19th century art world to life.  I will never see another Monet, Van Gogh, or Toulouse Lautrec painting the same way again.  Especially Lautrec.  An added treat: at least in the e-book edition, the paintings throughout the novel are in color and are reproductions of real pieces you can see in a museum.

However, it took some time for me to get into the book.  I don’t know if it’s the book’s pace (it was a little slow to me at first), its strangeness combined with its subject matter or what.  But once I fully suspended my disbelief, I had a great time reading Sacré Bleu.  It’s tawdry, shameless, shamelessly tawdry, and shamelessly irreverent — everything you’ve come to expect in a Christopher Moore novel.  What surprised me about Sacré Bleu is its solid foundation in history and art history with the Impressionists at its center.  Moore poured a lot of research into this novel.

I’m used to reading Moore’s novels Fool, Bite Me, You Suck, and A Dirty Job.  Those books do not have a historical basis if I recall.  Fool is just another take on Shakespeare’s King Lear.  With Sacré Bleu, Moore uses real people, events, and places to create his latest twisted story.  No longer just names listed in a book, in Sacré Bleu Monet, Van Gogh, and Toulouse Lautrec become real people with quirks, bad habits, and great passions.

In Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art, Christopher Moore blends surrealism, fantasy, and historical fiction seamlessly together to bend space, time, and memory to bring a subtle creepiness to the story that flows from beginning to end.  Sacré Bleu, a wacky tale, discusses the source of artistic inspiration and the price required to obtain artistic genius.  It’s a story about love, creativity, inspiration, suffering and sacrifice, and the color blue. If you’re a history buff of any sort and like books that slide into odd dimensions or peek behind reality in some way, read Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Book Reviews, Christopher Moore

 

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Fool

Title: Fool
Author: Christopher Moore
Genre: Humor
Publisher: HarperCollins
Book Length:

The Gist: Warning: This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!

The Review: Well, you’ve been warned. Christopher Moore’s Fool contains all of the above mentioned shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason and the odd wank. If you’ve read any of Moore’s previous novels the shagging, maiming, spanking, and the odd wank will not surprise you. I still found these elements hilariously funny with the accompanying thought “I cannot believe he wrote that! Bah hah! hah! hah!” Moore provides a unique take on Shakespeare’s play King Lear narrated from the point of view of Lear’s court jester, Pocket (at least that’s the jester’s name in Moore’s book.)I enjoyed the book overall, but at times I felt a little lost. I am not as familiar with the play King Lear as I am some of Shakespeare’s other plays, such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, or Othello, so I am not sure how much of Fool follows the play in its basic plot or really, its subplots.
For example, are there witches in King Lear? I think Shakespeare writes witches into the play, but it’s been so long since I have seen King Lear , I don’t remember. I could pick up cliff notes for King Lear, but I view that as well, cheating. And yet, I’m not up to reading the play right now. However, if you haven’t read the play, I don’t think it detracts from reading Fool. Fool seems to have enough of its own plot to make it an entertaining, funny read. I think it depends on what kind of reader you are. I like to know where deviations from an original plot begin so that I can completely enjoy all of the twists and turns a writer spoofing a well-known story has employed. If you just want a humorous, bawdy tale about a court jester in King Lear’s court and don’t give a fig about plot differences, etc. then you’ll be completely fine. For me, my inner English major is still alive and kicking.

Final Thoughts: I’m glad I read Christopher Moore’s Fool. It’s a light, quick read with lots of humor and it\’s an interesting story on its own about the fool, Pocket. I enjoyed Pocket’s antics and his craftiness. Yes, craftiness exists in Fool. Goes with the shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason and the odd wank. And the split infinitives. Mustn’t forget those. I highly recommend reading Moore’s note at the end of the book after reading the story. His research about the play King Lear is quite interesting—and funny.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2009 in Book Reviews, Christopher Moore

 

A Dirty Job

Title: A Dirty Job
Author: Christopher Moore
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Pages: 416

The Gist: Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy with a normal life, married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. They’re even about to have their first child. Yes, Charlie’s doing okay–until people start dropping dead around him, and everywhere he goes a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Charlie Asher it seems, has been recruited for a new position: as Death.

It’s a dirty job. But hey! Somebody’s gotta do it.

Commentary: From the Haight, to the Castro, to the Mission to Chinatown Charlie Asher attempts to fulfill the duties of his new vocation fighting the foes who swear to take him down. Full of humor–much of it wonderfully twisted, you’ll spend much of the time trying to bust a gut from laughing so hard. Many times, while at the deli at work, or riding home on the bus, I tried (sometimes in vain) to stifle the urge to fall out laughing by faking sneezes or pretending I was repressing coughs. It’s that funny. It’s also sad, poignant, earthy, and uplifting. It’s also a love story: the love of a man for his wife and his daughter and the friends who surround him.

Oh. And before I forget. The book glows in the dark.

Really. It does.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2008 in Book Reviews, Christopher Moore

 
 
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