"Sacre Bleu" is the best Tom Robbins novel since "Half-Asleep in Frog Pajamas." Of course, it was written by Christopher Moore, not Mr. Robbins.
If you are looking for a typical Moore laughfest like "You Suck" or "Fool", you might be disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised. "Sacre Bleu" is beautifully, carefully, and intelligently written. It's set in the late 19th Century, and follows some very real people (the Van Gogh Brothers, Monet, Manet) as they paint and live. The main characters are Lucien Lessard (a fictional baker and painter), and his dear friend, the very real Henri Toulouse-Latrec. Against the very real and explosive Paris art world, our heroes work to unravel a very odd mystery, involving "The Colorman" and his beautiful Muse cohort, "Bleu."
See, the only true blue (npi) is a rare pigment only available from The Colorman. Its origin, and its effects, are key threads in the storyline.
It would take nearly 400 pages to describe the plot adequately, and that's this book's length.
I compare it to Tom Robbins' best works, because there is a ton of real information buried inside the fiction. (Robbins tackled painting in "Skinny Legs and All")
"Sacre Bleu" is a funny book. But "Fool" was the sort of "Getting 'faced with your friends in a bar" sort of boisterousness. "Sacre Bleu" has a more refined humor, like getting 'faced with your friends drinking cognac at home. (Fret not: there are still penis jokes)
I really recommend this book, especially to artists and art lovers. Oddly, I think Robbins' fans would enjoy it more than the author's own. I loved "Sacre Bleu," but in a Robbinsesque way, the same way you love some women like your highschool sweetheart and others like your college girlfriend. The love has the same intensity, but in inexplicably different ways.