Have you ever read anything by Christopher Moore? I just finished his new novel Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art, and I have mixed feelings.
Christopher Moore, to me, writes like a modern-day Shakespeare: his writing is smart and funny, but in a bawdy, low-brow way. I loved his Lamb and Fool, a retelling of the life of Christ and King Lear from the fool’s perspective, and as far as specifically “funny” books go, I’d probably rank them in my top 10. (Seriously, if you haven’t read them, I suggest you do so immediately.) But to me, Sacre Bleu, just wasn’t as good.
Set among the 1890s Parisian Impressionists, Sacre Bleu is essentially the story of this supernaturally-based woman inspiring all the great works of art of the time. It’s EXTREMELY silly, even for Moore, and while I really liked the characters—particularly that of Henri de Toulous-Lautrec, who, from what I know of the actual historical figure, seemed to be spot-on—the plot was too much of a stretch for me. The idea was interesting, but it made only limited sense and the action didn’t really go anywhere. It’s almost as if it would have made an amazing short story, but Moore was having such a good time with his characters, he didn’t want the fun to end.
My rating: A solid B; entertaining but not memorable
Who should read it: Fans of Christopher Moore, Douglas Adams, and British humor in general (he’s not British, but he employs that brand of silly comedy)