by Christopher Moore
The quote above isn’t from Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu, but is rather from Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” a musical about the painter Georges Seurat. These lyrics were like a soundtrack in my head as I read Moore’s latest:
Piece by piece-
Only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.
Having just a vision’s no solution,
Everything depends on execution;
Putting it together-
That’s what counts!
|Under the dust jacket|
As for the story, that’s a little more difficult to summarize this time around. For past Moore novels, I could say: It was about vampires, a demon, a jinn, a sea monster that feeds on emotion, a man who walks on water. Like those previous books, this one features an element of the fantastic, but I absolutely cannot explain that element in a word, a phrase, or quite possibly a paragraph. It’s different, it took me quite a while to figure out what was going on, and I’m not going to spoil that ride for you.
|A page from the book|
Henri is the ideal sidekick for a Moore novel. As outrageously as Moore’s characters tend to behave, one gets the impression that Henri is depicted quite true to character. And he is wildly entertaining! The truth is, I didn’t need the somewhat odd plot about the color blue and the menacing “Colorman.” I could have spent this entire novel eavesdropping on Lucien, Henri, Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Gauguin, Renoir—yes, Seurat—and so many more, as they went about creating and discussing art. It was riveting. As with Moore’s Shakespeare novel, Fool, this tale clearly springs from the author’s love and appreciation of their work. And he’s done his homework; reading Sacré Bleu is like the most awesome art history lesson ever.
I realize I haven’t actually said much about what happens in the novel. My advice is just read and go where the story takes you. It’s funny and profane and over-the-top. It’s Christopher Moore. Art isn’t easy, and I don’t know another writer who can do what Moore does. As Mr. Sondheim said, everything depends on execution. Sacré Bleu is an homage to art from a true artist in his own right.
NOTE: There is an excellent website dedicated entirely to this novel here, which includes a reader's guide, an informative blog by the author, book tour info and more. Also, with any luck, I'll be posting video from Chris's San Francisco book launch tomorrow. Check back!
UPDATE 4/4: So, I did film Chris last night, and he was his usual uproarious self. He asked me not to post the video until his tour concludes, so of course I'll honor his request. But rest assured, I'll post it. In the meanwhile, I have a backlog of video that I need to post, so I'll put up something soon. :-)