Christopher Moore wrote an entire novel about the color blue. True to Moore's witty, surreal style, Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art is partially historically accurate, partially science fiction, and wholly entertaining.
Sacre Bleu focuses on the French Impressionists and is mainly set in Montmartre, Paris in the 1890's. Lucien Lessard, a made-up painter, spends his time with his best friend Henri Toulouse-Lautrec drinking, smoking, womanizing, and occasionally painting. They are friends with painters such as Vincent Van Gogh and look up to some of the older painters (Renoir, Manet, Monet, Whistler, Pissarro, Gaugin, and Seurat) as dear uncles who have heavy influences in their current work.
There is the mysterious Colorman, a short, ugly gentleman who peddles his colors to unsuspecting artists. There are muses, women so vibrant, beautiful, and dangerous all at once that they influence the painters in new and modern ways.
Lucien and Henri start to notice weird things going on around their circles of artist friends and start to investigate. Vincent Van Gogh's suicide seems too sudden and filled with too many unanswered questions that they start to suspect it was a murder. All the strange events and lapses of time they find seem to circle around the Colorman. The two are fascinated with learning more about the Colorman and how he makes his color blue, but are always distracted by their current paintings or current women. As more and more of their friends are mysteriously dying or disappearing, they dig deeper into the occult world of the Colorman and his techniques. Somehow, everything in this absurd novel comes back to the color blue and how it has been revered throughout time.
Moore uses research on the actual personalities of the artists and their painting styles to keep each real artist as true to life as possible. As with most of Moore's works, it is hard to decipher actual history from the made up parts (there is a guide at the end where Moore separates some of the facts from fiction). Moore's comical writing make this farce come together and show that it is possible to write a book about something as simple as the color blue.