Fartiste by Kathleen Krull

FartisteI’d like to say that this book stinks.  But, I can’t.  I also like to say that because it’s by Kathleen Krull, it’s a seriously good biography.  Once again, I can’t.

There’s nothing stinky or serious about Fartiste, the tale of Joseph Pujol, a man, who once the people of 19th century Paris got “wind” of his act, packed the Moulin Rouge with “toots” and hoots every night for years.  As its subtitle exclaims, it’s an “explosively funny, mostly true story.”  I’m not sure which part is not entirely accurate, but, it’s so much fun that I hope it’s a very small, inconsequential detail such as the color of his coat—maybe actually black instead of red?

While there’s nothing too serious in it, this is a worthy book.  Ms. Krull has yet to turn out a biography that—no matter it’s length—has not shown scholarly investigation as well as some unabashed humor.  Who else could have found Isaac Newton to be a humorous guy?  As is her wont, Krull has packed Fartiste, a mere 36 pages, with laughs, a good story and solid information—there’s even a bibliography. 

I can say without reservation, this one will blow you away.

Posted by: Eileen


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