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Bleu’ a tantalizing trip through Paris

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Delving into the 19th-century Paris Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art scenes, author Christopher Moore (“Lamb,” “Fool”) takes a unique look at art, artists, inspiration and love with his latest novel “SacrCB) Bleu.”

The book begins with the death of Vincent van Gogh, murdered by a mysterious man known only as The Colorman. Van Gogh’s death begins a chain of events for the rest of the novel, which follows the fictional protagonist Lucien Lessard,  a baker and painter, his lover Juliette and the famed Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Before they know it, the protagonists are caught up in a conspiracy thousands of years old, explaining much of the madness and death that was so prevalent within the artistic community.

The novel is set during a time when art was changing, bound by few rules or set methods. The Impressionists represented an artistic revolution, forming their own theories, techniques and movements. The freedom and the desire of the individuals who participated during this period are illuminated by the author’s words and help to set the scintillating tone of the novel as a whole.

Moore’s novel paints a beautiful, detailed portrait of Paris during the year 1890, with intricate details about history, the city and the people dwelling within it. As he slowly builds the city, using words instead of bricks and mortar, Moore creates an increasingly vivid home for the artists and their adventure.

The book itself comes along with visual aids that serve to guide the reader through Moore’s carefully crafted plot. The inside cover provides a rather helpful and detailed map of Paris, and throughout the text, Moore provides pictures of relevant works of art that provide some welcome color to the monochromatic book. These images coincide with various plot points, and it can be a treat to go back and forth between Moore’s words and the artists’ work.

Still, where Moore truly excels is in characterization. His lovesick Lucien acts as a vessel by which the countless famous painters come to life. Blending history with fiction, the author develops a detailed profile for such artists as Renoir, Gauguin, Monet, Pissaro, Whistler, Toulouse-Lautrec and countless other famous figures.

The artists exude peculiarities, personalities and overall humanity, engrossing the reader and creating a sense of believability in this work of historical fiction.

Dialogue throughout the text is dynamic and often bawdy, bringing humor to a book that, at times, is riddled with heartbreak and sadness. This is characteristic of the author’s other novels such as “Lamb” and “Fluke,” which often juxtapose witty humor with a deliciously painful story that reminds the reader of what it means to be human.

Moreover, Moore unravels his plot in a clever fashion, continuing with the main thread of the protagonists throughout the novel, but with periodic time and perspective shifts. This technique offers a full and well-rounded plot, thick with foreshadowing. As the book nears its end, Moore removes the cloak of mystery surrounding the plot, leaving the reader with dawning comprehension and a satisfying sense of wonder.

Moore’s book stands as an homage to inspiration, the drive that urges artists to create. Anyone with artistic drive, or even an appreciation of art or the artistic process, will identify with and love this book.

Witty humor, compelling characters and a fantastically spun tale make Moore’s latest book a true work of art.

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About Author: Dylan Proietti

I am a senior and finance major, currently serving as the Entertainment editor for the Clarion. I decided to join the Clarion my freshman year at the University of Denver, carrying over an interest in journalism I gained at my high school newspaper. Since that time, I have written for nearly all sections of the paper, but I tend to stay within the realms of Opinions and Entertainment. I have served on staff as both a staff writer and the former Opinions editor. I am an avid consumer of all types of media, especially enjoying analyzing and reviewing films.

As the Entertainment editor, I look forward to help deliver a constant supply of reviews, previews and general news on topics of music, movies, television, books and more. I see it as my job to not only help produce the paper each week, but to help students decide how best to spend their precious free time. Though journalism has nothing to do with my degree plan, it remains a great passion of mine and I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to provide fresh content to the DU student body each quarter.

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