Friday Favorites 5/23/2013

This week, I’m reading Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art.  There’s a scene in Sacre Bleu, which is a fictional mystery-comedy about the events surrounding the supposed suicide of Vincent Van Gogh, that gave me the giggles.  Lessard, the baker (who is the book’s main character) and several impressionist artists, including Renoir, Monet and Pissaro are admiring Edouard Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe, then titled The Bath:

bath

Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe by Edouard Manet
courtesy Wikipedia

The painting created a sensation when it was first shown in Paris in 1890, and the crowd is pointing and laughing at it.  Lessard, wondering why people are laughing, says, Is it because she’s too skinny?  Renoir adds that I like a girl with a substantial bottom, drawing in the air the size bottom he prefers.  It’s 1890, after all, when

bbw

There follows an off-color discussion of what’s going to happen next … or what’s already happened.  I call it The Bath, Manet tell his friends.  That’s a stupid title, a woman nearby says, She’s not even wet.  Looks to me like she’s deciding which of these two she’s going to bonk in the bushes.  Embarrassed, Manet decides to rename the painting Luncheon in the Grass, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe.  It’s the kind of off-kilter, slightly irreverent humor in a realistic historical setting that I look for when I turn to Christopher Moore for reading material.  In fact, the painting was originally titled The Bath, and was renamed but not by Manet (an interesting analysis here, if you are interested).

practicaldemonI first encountered Moore when I picked up his first book, Practical Demonkeeping, from the shelves at Borders.  I don’t laugh at loud easily but when I read Demonkeeping on a business flight, I had people giving me those looks.  It is the story of Travis, a man who has been 19 years old since 1919 because he inadvertently called up a demon from Hell by the name of Catch to be his servent.  The book follows Travis’ search for the book of incantations he needs to send the annoying Catch back where he came from.  Finishing Practical Demonkeeping, I turned to Coyote Blue, Moore’s second novel.  In Coyote Blue, insurance salesman, Samuel Hunter … formerly Sam Hunts Alone of the Crow Indian reservation … is haunted by the ancient Indian trickster-god, Coyote.  There followed a series of books setting skewed humor in interestinglamb places with intriguing titles like Bloodsucking Fiends and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun.  My favorite so far has been Lamb, which creates the missing years of Jesus’ life from the point of view of his best bud, Biff.   What I enjoyed most was that mixed with the odd humor was a certain reverence for the topic and historical accuracy which never turned into the sort of dismissiveness practiced by by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park and Book of Mormon.

My other favorite funny author, Carl Hiassen, has said of Christopher Moore, a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word.   What could be a better recommendation?  When I’m tired of mystery and drama and tragedy, when I’m in need of a laugh, it’s usually Carl Hiassen or Christopher Moore.  So, Christopher Moore is this week’s Friday Favorite.  You can find summaries of all his books on his website, www.chrismoore.com.

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2 Comments on “Friday Favorites 5/23/2013”


  1. I LOVED “Lamb.” Oh, God, I was crossing myself half the time and laughing out loud the other half. Maybe I should re-read it.


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