Fool
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Fool

4.2 315
by Christopher Moore
     
 

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“Hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters, and ministerial students.”
Dallas Morning News

Fool—the bawdy and outrageous New York Times bestseller from the unstoppable Christopher Moore—is a hilarious new take on William Shakespeare’s

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Overview

“Hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters, and ministerial students.”
Dallas Morning News

Fool—the bawdy and outrageous New York Times bestseller from the unstoppable Christopher Moore—is a hilarious new take on William Shakespeare’s King Lear…as seen through the eyes of the foolish liege’s clownish jester, Pocket. A rousing tale of “gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,” Fool joins Moore’s own Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, and You Suck! as modern masterworks of satiric wit and sublimely twisted genius, prompting Carl Hiassen to declare Christopher Moore “a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word.”

Editorial Reviews

Jeff Lindsay
“Funny, literate, smart and sexy, all at once!”
Winnipeg Free Press
“The very definition of a bawdy romp: a broad, elbow-in-the-ribs, wink-wink homage to King Lear (but with quantities of shagging that would have kept legions of Grade 12 students glued to their copies had the Bard only thought to include it). …[A] riotous adventure.”
Washington Post Book World
“In truth, Fool is exuberantly, tirelessly, brazenly profane, vulgar, crude, sexist, blasphemous and obscene. Compared to Moore’s novel, even Mel Brooks’s hilariously tasteless film “Blazing Saddles” appears a model of stately 18th-century decorousness.”
Valdosta Times (Georgia) on FOOL
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
Philadelphia City Paper on FOOL
“Moore compares favorably to Tom Robbins – crazy adventure, clever twists, feel-good philosophy – crafting a laugh-out-loud romp with Bard-worthy smarts.”
Booklist on FOOL
“[W]all-to-wall, farcical fornicating and fighting…a jolly good time can be had.”
San Francisco Chronicle on FOOL
“In transforming “King Lear” into a potty-mouthed jape, Moore is up to more than thumbing his nose at a masterpiece. His version of Shakespeare’s Fool, who accompanies Lear on his slide from paternal arrogance to spiritual desolation in the original text, simultaneously honors and imaginatively enriches the character.”
USA Today on FOOL
“Moore is a very clever boy when it comes to words. There are good chuckles to be had in this tale. …Whether you need to read the original King Lear before you read Moore’s Fool is debatable. Seems a fool’s errand to us. Just enjoy.”
Washington Post Book World (Michael Dirda) on FOOL
“In truth, Fool is exuberantly, tirelessly, brazenly profane, vulgar, crude, sexist, blasphemous and obscene. Compared to Moore’s novel, even Mel Brooks’s hilariously tasteless film “Blazing Saddles” appears a model of stately 18th-century decorousness.”
Christian Science Monitor on FOOL
“It’s hard to resist so gleeful a tale of murder, witchcraft, treason, maiming, and spanking. . . . Moore’s deft ear for dialogue keeps the pages turning . . . Fool is a wickedly good time.”
Daily News on FOOL
“You don’t need to be a Shakespeare expert to get this retelling, which keeps the bones of the tragedy (mad monarch, scheming daughters, moatful of mayhem) but rattles them with cheeky tweaks and plays it all for laughs.…[Moore] achieves bust-a-gut funny.”
Dallas Morning News on FOOL
“Often funny, sometimes hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters and ministerial students of the kind who come to our doorstep on Saturday mornings.”
Michael Dirda
Fool is exuberantly, tirelessly, brazenly profane, vulgar, crude, sexist, blasphemous and obscene…If you like Benny Hill's leering music-hall routines or Terry Pratchett's satirical Discworld novels, or George MacDonald Fraser's rumbustious Flashman adventures, not to overlook the less well known comic fiction of, say, Tom Holt and Tom Sharpe, you're almost certain to enjoy Christopher Moore's latest romp.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Here's the Cliff Notes you wished you'd had for King Lear-the mad royal, his devious daughters, rhyming ghosts and a castle full of hot intrigue-in a cheeky and ribald romp that both channels and chides the Bard and "all Fate's bastards." It's 1288, and the king's fool, Pocket, and his dimwit apprentice, Drool, set out to clean up the mess Lear has made of his kingdom, his family and his fortune-only to discover the truth about their own heritage. There's more murder, mayhem, mistaken identities and scene changes than you can remember, but bestselling Moore (You Suck) turns things on their head with an edgy 21st-century perspective that makes the story line as sharp, surly and slick as a game of Grand Theft Auto. Moore confesses he borrows from at least a dozen of the Bard's plays for this buffet of tragedy, comedy and medieval porn action. It's a manic, masterly mix-winning, wild and something today's groundlings will applaud. (Feb.)

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Library Journal

In his 11th novel, Moore (Bloodsucking Fiends) has Pocket, King Lear's jester, retelling and reshaping Shakespeare's renowned tragedy in the form of a bawdy comedy. Scottish actor/singer Euan Morton does a fine job of voicing the irrepressible Pocket as he plots to save Cordelia from her sisters' machinations, delivering Pocket's many playful jibes with effective comic timing. Numerous other characters are also well defined by his reading. Strongly recommended for those who appreciate high humor, though not for Shakespeare purists. [Audio clip available through www.harperaudio.com; the Morrow hc, a New York Times best seller, was recommended for "fans of Moore's warped sense of humor," LJ12/08.-Ed.]
—Deb West

Kirkus Reviews
Moore's 11th novel (You Suck, 2007, etc.) re-imagines Shakespeare's most austere tragic masterpiece with a transgressive brio that will have devoted bardolators howling for the miscreant author's blood. It's the venerable tale of 13th-century British King Lear (who's sometimes Christian, sometimes pagan) and the authoritarian vanity that alienates him from his three daughters, his kingdom and eventually his wits. It's narrated by the eponymous King's Fool, known as Pocket (for his diminutive size), who waxes profanely about his upbringing among monks and nuns, his cordial relationship with Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, carnal dalliances with her elder sisters Goneril and Regan and his quick-witted attempts to foment and manage civil war and thus keep Lear's embattled kingdom from fully self-destructing. Ghastly jokes and groan-worthy puns shamelessly abound, but there are inspired sequences: a splendidly tasteless revision of the play's opening scene, in which Lear unwisely solicits declarations of his daughters' love for him; cameo appearances by a female ghost given to cryptic rhyming prophecies, as well as the three witches better known as agents of change in "Macbeth"; and a very funny impromptu arraignment at which Pocket is accused of shagging "innocent" Princess Regan. One does appreciate the characterization of Goneril's effete steward Oswald as a "rodent-faced muck-sucker." And surely readers can be forgiven for lamenting a mere passing reference to the play "Green Eggs and Hamlet," or saluting disguised hero Edgar's free translation of the Latin phrase "Carpe diem" as "Fish of the Day."Less may be more, but it isn't Moore. Wretched excess doth have power to charm, andthere are great reeking oodles of it strewn throughout these irreverent pages.
Daily News
“You don’t need to be a Shakespeare expert to get this retelling, which keeps the bones of the tragedy (mad monarch, scheming daughters, moatful of mayhem) but rattles them with cheeky tweaks and plays it all for laughs.…[Moore] achieves bust-a-gut funny.”
Christian Science Monitor
“It’s hard to resist so gleeful a tale of murder, witchcraft, treason, maiming, and spanking. . . . Moore’s deft ear for dialogue keeps the pages turning . . . Fool is a wickedly good time.”
Washington Post Book World (Michael Dirda)
“In truth, Fool is exuberantly, tirelessly, brazenly profane, vulgar, crude, sexist, blasphemous and obscene. Compared to Moore’s novel, even Mel Brooks’s hilariously tasteless film “Blazing Saddles” appears a model of stately 18th-century decorousness.”
Valdosta Times
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
Philadelphia City Paper
“Moore compares favorably to Tom Robbins – crazy adventure, clever twists, feel-good philosophy – crafting a laugh-out-loud romp with Bard-worthy smarts.”
Valdosta Times (Georgia)
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
Booklist
“[W]all-to-wall, farcical fornicating and fighting…a jolly good time can be had.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“In transforming “King Lear” into a potty-mouthed jape, Moore is up to more than thumbing his nose at a masterpiece. His version of Shakespeare’s Fool, who accompanies Lear on his slide from paternal arrogance to spiritual desolation in the original text, simultaneously honors and imaginatively enriches the character.”
USA Today
“Moore is a very clever boy when it comes to words. There are good chuckles to be had in this tale. …Whether you need to read the original King Lear before you read Moore’s Fool is debatable. Seems a fool’s errand to us. Just enjoy.”
Dallas Morning News
“Often funny, sometimes hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters and ministerial students of the kind who come to our doorstep on Saturday mornings.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060590321
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/23/2010
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
181,463
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Fool

Chapter One

Always a Bloody Ghost

"Tosser!" cried the raven.

There's always a bloody raven.

"Foolish teachin' him to talk, if you ask me," said the sentry.

"I'm duty-bound foolish, yeoman," said I. I am, you know? A fool. Fool to the court of Lear of Britain. "And you are a tosser," I said.

"Piss off!" said the raven.

The yeoman took a swipe at the bird with his spear and the great black bird swooped off the wall and went cawing out over the Thames. A ferryman looked up from his boat, saw us on the tower, and waved. I jumped onto the wall and bowed...at your fucking service, thank you. The yeoman grumbled and spat after the raven.

There have always been ravens at the White Tower. A thousand years ago, before George II, idiot king of Merica, destroyed the world, there were ravens here. The legend says that as long as there are ravens at the Tower, England will stand strong. Still, it may have been a mistake to teach one to talk.

"The Earl of Gloucester approaches!" cried a sentry on the west wall. "With his son Edgar and the bastard Edmund!"

The yeoman by me grinned. "Gloucester, eh? Be sure you do that bit where you play a goat and Drool plays the earl mistaking you for his wife."

"That would be unkind," said I. "The earl is newly widowed."

"You did it the last time he was here and she was still warm in the grave."

"Well, yes. A service that...trying to shock the poor wretch out of his grief, wasn't it?"

"Good show, too. The way you was bleatin' I thought ol' Drool was givin' it to you right proper up the bung."

I made a note to shove the guard off the wall whenopportunity presented.

"Heard he was going to have you assassinated, but he couldn't make a case to the king."

"Gloucester's a noble, he doesn't need a case for murder, just a whim and a blade."

"Not bloody likely," the yeoman said, "everyone knows the king's got a wing o'er you."

That was true. I enjoy a certain license.

"Have you seen Drool? With Gloucester here, there'll be a command performance." My apprentice, Drool...a beef-witted bloke the size of a draught horse.

"He was in the kitchen before the watch," said the yeoman.

The kitchen buzzed...the staff preparing for a feast.

"Have you seen Drool ?" I asked Taster, who sat at the table staring sadly at a bread trencher laid out with cold pork, the king's dinner. He was a thin, sickly lad, chosen, no doubt, for his weakness of constitution, and a predisposition toward dropping dead at the slightest provocation. I liked to tell him my troubles, sure that they would not travel far.

"Does this look poisoned to you?"

"It's pork, lad. Lovely. Eat up. Half the men in England would give a testicle to feast thus, and it only mid-day. I'm tempted myself." I tossed my head...gave him a grin and a bit of a jingle on the ol' hat bells to cheer him. I pantomimed stealing a bit of his pork. "After you, of course."

A knife thumped into the table by my hand.

"Back, Fool," said Bubble, the head cook. "That's the king's lunch and I'll have your balls before I'll let you at it."

"My balls are yours for the asking, milady," said I. "Would you have them on a trencher, or shall I serve them in a bowl of cream, like peaches?"

Bubble harrumphed, yanked her knife from the table and went back to gutting a trout at the butcher block, her great bottom rolling like thunderclouds under her skirt as she moved.

"You're a wicked little man, Pocket," said Squeak, waves of freckles riding o'er her shy smile. She was second to the cook, a sturdy, ginger-haired girl with a high giggle and a generous spirit in the dark. Taster and I often passed pleasant afternoons at the table watching her wring the necks of chickens.

Pocket is my name, by the way. Given to me by the abbess who found me on the nunnery doorstep when I was a tiny babe. True, I am not a large fellow. Some might even say I am diminutive, but I am quick as a cat and nature has compensated me with other gifts. But wicked?

"I think Drool was headed to the princess's chambers," Squeak said.

"Aye," said Taster, glumly. "The lady sent for a cure for melancholy."

"And the git went?" Jest on his own? The boy wasn't ready. What if he blundered, tripped, fell on the princess like a millstone on a butterfly? "Are you sure?"

Bubble dropped a gutless trout into a bushel of slippery co-fishes. "Chanting, 'Off to do ma duty,' he was. We told him you'd be looking for him when we heard Princess Goneril and the Duke of Albany was coming."

"Albany's coming?"

"Ain't he sworn to string your entrails from the chandelier?" asked Taster.

"No," corrected Squeak. "That was Duke of Cornwall. Albany was going to have his head on a pike, I believe. Pike, wasn't it, Bubble?"

"Aye, have his head on a pike. Funny thing, thinkin' about it, you'd look like a bigger version of your puppet-stick there."

"Jones," said Taster, pointing to my jester's scepter, Jones, who is, indeed, a smaller version of my own handsome countenance, fixed atop a sturdy handle of polished hickory. Jones speaks for me when even my tongue needs to exceed safe license with knights and nobles, his head pre-piked for the wrath of the dull and humorless. My finest art is oft lost in the eye of the subject.

"Yes, that would be right hilarious, Bubble...ironic imagery...like the lovely Squeak turning you on a spit over a fire, an apple up both your ends for color...although I daresay the whole castle might conflagrate in the resulting grease fire, but until then we'd laugh and laugh."

Fool. Copyright © by Christopher Moore. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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