Welcome to the Chapter by Chapter Guide of Sacré Bleu. Here you’ll find some photographs, a little background on the geography, history, and art featured in the book, as well as observations and musing I had while researching and writing the book that just wouldn’t fit in the story, but I hope will give some perspective on it. I’ll add to this guide as time goes on, and not necessarily in order, so check back.
Chapter 1 Guide – Wheat Field with Crows
The Village of Auvers Sur Oise lay about ten minutes (by train) north of Paris, over the River Oise. Vincent lived here for several months after he left the sanitarium in Arles, after his famous breakdown in 1889.
This is the Inn in Auvers where Vincent lived. This picture taken in 2009.
“And what will I get for my hat. Will you tell my future?”
Vincent Van Gogh – Self-Portrait, 1887 (Original Painting in the Detroit Art Institute)
“She was thirteen, and blond, and though she would be a beauty one day, now she was gloriously, heartbreakingly plain.” Portrait of Adeline Ravoux, the innkeeper’s daughter, 1889
“Vincent paused at the base of the steps that had been built into the hillside.”
The stairs behind the Ravoux Inn at Auvers. Vincent – 1890
“He painted a final crow, just four brushstrokes to imply wings, then stepped back.” Wheatfield with Crows – Vincent, 1890 – Now at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Today, there is a sign at the junction of the three roads through the wheat and corn fields where Vincent painted his last painting.
“The church,” Vincent said. “There’s a painting of the church in my room at the inn. You can see, the church is not blue in life, but I painted it blue. I wanted to commune with God.” The Church at Auvers – 2009. Clearly not blue yet…
“You lie! I have been to the inn and seen your church. She is not in that painting.”Vincent’s painting of the Church at Auvers. 1890 (Now in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris)
“Vincent left the painting and the easel, picked a single, crushed tube of paint from his paint box and put it in his pocket, then, holding his chest, he trudged down the road that ran along the ridge above town a mile to Dr. Gachet’s house.” The road through the woods, along the ridge above Auvers. I took this in 2009. It was a hot August day, and the forest floor near the corn field was covered with brown leaves that smelled toasted in the heat. You could stop and hear them crackle in the heat. The corn stalks were starting to dry out, and in the slight breeze it sounded like faint applause when they rubbed together.
“He fell as he opened the iron gate at the foot of the stone steps that led through the terraced garden, then crawled to his feet and climbed, pausing at each step, leaning on the cool limestone, trying to catch his breath before taking the next.” The stairs at Dr. Gachet’s house today.
Theo Van Gogh – 1889
Theo lived on Montmartre, in Paris at the time of Vincent’s death. Dr. Gachet sent for him and he was at Vincent’s bedside the next day. Vincent lingered for three days before he died in Theo’s arms.
Vincent and Theo lay buried side by side, not two-hundred meters from the spot
where Wheatfield with Crows was painted.
I think this is a brilliant addition to the book, and I hope it ends up in the ebook. I believe that this type of supplemental content is what ebooks were designed for, not just to be PDF’s of the final galley’s of a book.
Thank you for sharing.
I live for each new book and I have converted several to Christopher Moore fans. The research detail is interesting and helpful to the process when one is a devout reader and maybe someday an author as well.
Thanks for the guide. Really enjoyed it, and look forward to more in no particular order.
Will we be able to buy this guide, or must I go to my computer every time I finish a chapter? …because that may be difficult.
…Even if the guide is available for an e-book, that would be convenient, too.
The guide will be available as an Iphone and I hope, and Android app. I’d like to incorporate it into the e-book, but so far, that’s not in the works. I’m doing this completely on my own and with my web guy, and that sort of thing needs to go through the publisher. I know it’s not ideal, but so far that’s where we are. On the bright side: Chapter Guide!
This is fantastic! Thank you for providing the extra content, I think it’ll really help bring the book to life (not that your writing needs help with that! :)) Very, very cool.
All the chapter guides are finished and will go up just before the book comes out.
Your Chapter Guide is generous! Thank you so much!! I can’t believe the emotion it has created in me. Starry Night and Cafe at Night prints hang on my bedroom walls. I reached your site through a link provided by a friend on a facebook group called Willow’s Book Nook. There will be Christopher Moore books on my shelves now (and in my Kindle if that is possible.)