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The salon
Bertozzi, Nick.
Adult Fiction BERTOZZ

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Bertozzi's long-awaited graphic novel has a brilliant, daffy premise executed with wit and flair. In the Paris of 1907, a salon of later famous Modernists-including Gertrude Stein, Georges Braque, Erik Satie and their sawed-off, potty-mouthed, frequently naked, hilariously arrogant acquaintance Pablo Picasso-discover a stash of secret blue absinthe that allows its drinkers to travel inside paintings, which may hold the key to the demonic creature who's been dismembering avant-gardists. The setting is fertile territory for speculative historical in-jokes, bawdy and action-packed set pieces-especially artistic experimentation in the tradition of its protagonists-Bertozzi plays it to the hilt. His artwork is consistently vigorous, featuring rough, lusty brush strokes, an engaging duotone color scheme that changes from scene to scene, and hilarious mock French sound effects (someone being kicked is rendered "QUIQUE"). But there's also a clever subtext to the book, about the historical moment at which a small group of associates reinvented art, music and literature by thinking intensely about how to represent space and time. Bertozzi dramatizes the origins of Cubism and its links to Gauguin's work, and even suggests how Picasso might have been influenced by comic strips, thus demonstrating the Stein salon's absolute devotion to advancing their art more strikingly than a "real" history could. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Gertude Stein's art salon in turn-of-19th-century Paris offers irresistible appeal for modern comikkers--Bertozzi's romp follows hard on the heels of Jason's The Left Bank Gang (LJ 11/15/06). A mysterious blue-skinned woman is murdering artists, and Stein's salon vows to stop her to save their own hides. Their bumbling attempts at sleuthing are complicated by interartist rivalry and outlandish lapses of propriety--especially from the frequently naked and always irrepressible Picasso and Leo Stein's jealousy of his sister's new flame, Alice. The cause of and the solution to the murders turn out to be a special blue absinthe that enables Gauguin and his psychopathic-homicidal mistress to enter paintings and, eventually, allows the sleuthing salonistes to pursue them. Modern art aficionados will love the send-up (How many in-jokes do you get?), while neophytes will learn about cubism and may be inspired to become savvy about the real artists and their work. This sophisticated bit of magical-mystery history belongs in all academic and large public libraries; for older teens and adults owing to nudity, light sexual content, and strong language.--M.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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