Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art


Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore | LibraryThing

Moore, C. (2012). Sacre bleu: A comedy d’art. New York: William Morrow. 9780061779749

Reasons for Reading : I posted Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art on my TBR list. Check out my reasons for reading there.

Summary: News of the suicide of volatile artist Vincent van Gogh rocks Parisian baker and artist Lucien Lessard and his good friend  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Compounding issues is the sudden reappearance of Lucien’s MIA girlfriend, Juliette and the nasty little guy who’s known as The Colorman. Lucien and Henri take the reader for a ride on the crazy train, encountering figures in the French art scene along the way.

What I Liked : Author Christopher Moore is uproariously humorous. There were numerous “ROL” (read out loud) moments throughout this novel. Characters such as fictitious Lucien and Juliette appealed greatly. The physical book is gorgeous with images discussed in the narrative and has blue typing.

What I Disliked : Some curse words here and there don’t bother me but the language used by various characters was beyond nasty. Also, I thought sometimes Moore crossed the line between amusingly irreverent and crazy wicked. One point late in the novel made a reference to bestiality that had major cringe factor.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Bobby Vinton Blue Velvet – YouTube

Setting : Paris, France with stops in the French countryside, Italy, England, and the US

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Top Ten Book to Movie adaptations | Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

 

1) The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides/ Sofia Coppola) – Except for a slight change at the end and leaving out a few characters, Sofia Coppola was faithful to the book. The casting was spot on and the soundtrack was sublime.

2) Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen/ Ang Lee) – I saw this movie, the one with Emma Thompson in it, before I read the book. The film was so good that I decided to read the book.

3) About a Boy (Nick Hornby/ Chris Weitz) – This movie is one of my all-time favorites. I read the book afterwards and understood, even appreciated the updates on the book. Hornby provided terrific character study and Hugh Grant nailed the role of Will. The boy was good, too.

4) The Graduate (Charles Webb/ Mike Nichols) – I just finished the book. Hoffman, Bancroft, and Ross were superb in the roles. Since I like Simon and Garfunkel, I like The Graduate.

5) Rising Sun (Michael Crichton/ Philip Kaufman) – Wesley Snipes plays a white character and he plays him well. My favorite actor in the cast was Tia Carrerre.

6) The French Lieutenant’s Woman (John Fowles/ Karel Reisz) – The book and the movie were odd. In efforts to provide the contemporary feel of Victorian events, the movie was about both the actors playing Smithson and Sarah in the 1980s.

7) The Rainmaker (John Grisham/ Francis Ford Coppola) – Matt Damon is a great actor, especially when it comes to playing characters out of books. This movie proved it to me. While I was convinced by The Talented Mr. Ripley, this movie adaptation was much better. Also, I liked Rudy Baylor much better than Tom Ripley. Claire Danes was good, too, in The Rainmaker.

8 ) The Godfather (Mario Puzo/ Francis Ford Coppola) – The Coppolas are faring well on my list! The characters are dynamic, Pacino and Keaton were perfectly suited to play Michael and Kay. There were changes in the movies but these received Puzo’s blessing.

9 ) To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee/ Robert Mulligan) – This is requisite.

10) The Green Mile (Stephen King/ Frank Darabont) – I was divided between this one and The Dead Zone. Ultimately, the actors – Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan beat out Christopher Walken.

John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman


The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles* 1001 Books Book

Fowles, J. (1969). The French lieutenant’s woman. Boston: Little, Brown.

A coworker recommended this book to me. Then, another coworker suggested I read it. At long last, I embarked on reading the nearly 500 page book. Before I realized, I had actually read the whole book.

Twentieth century writer John Fowles looks upon his Victorian characters and times in The French lieutenant’s woman. Fowles and the reader see these late Nineteenth century events from a Twentieth century point of view. The novel is interspersed with poetry of the day and discussions of politics, Darwinism, and Existentialism.

In the small Southwestern English village of Lyme Regis in 1867, the pretty young heiress Ernestina Freeman resides with her widowed aunt until her planned march down the aisle. She is engaged to a gentleman and amateur paleontologist Charles Smithson. Charles stays at a local inn, awaiting his marriage. One day, Charles and Ernestina walk along the coast. Inadvertently, they stumble upon the town’s own Hester Prynne, Sarah Woodruff (a.k.a. Tragedy, the French Lieutenant’s Whore/Woman, etc). Ernestina manages not to rubberneck but Charles is intrigued by the enigmatic, sad woman who was jilted by a French soldier not so long before the novel begins.

Later, Charles learns Sarah’s real name and that she now works as a companion to the legalistic and cruel Mrs. Poulteney, the richest woman in town. With each page, Charles becomes more and more fascinated by Sarah and her story. She makes him second guess and question not only his engagement but everything in his life. The biggest question of all is this; will Charles give up everything else to pursue something good and true or will he continue his life of pretense.

I can say that I had never read a novel like this. While I may have read poor imitations of Fowles’ interjectory style, this book is one of a kind. I easily saw that Charles supported Darwin’s arguments but I also saw him as a dying breed – a gentleman who did not have to work. His kind found itself dependent on wealthy heiresses seeking titles. Yet, his gentleman’s gentleman, Sam, has the survival instinct of a cockroach.

One big question the book raises is Sarah’s motives. Surely, she represents truth and honor while Ernestina stands for the gilt beloved by Victorians. Yet, Charles’ feelings for either one of these women is debatable. When all is said and done, I think it was less about which corner of the love triangle prevailed and more about Charles doing what is right.

I hope I’m not breaking my own rule about spoilers but Fowles offers us three different endings. The first one is debunked by Fowles himself. This reminded me of “Choose your own adventure” books but I did find it authentic and worth pondering which way it would have truly gone. Nonetheless, thank you, Mr. Fowles, for giving your characters, and readers, some free will. Perhaps it’s enough rope to hang ourselves, characters and all, but it makes for a worthy read.

The only complaint I have will make me sound like a complete plebeian; all the foreign language. I did not take French and I had not the foggiest notion what the characters were saying at times and this frustrated me.

I must say, however, this is a Five out of Five Pearls book.

Places: Lyme Regis, UK; London, UK; Exeter, UK; Europe; US

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