Foolby Christopher Moore
Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much-beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laureled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck: A Love Story. Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the/b>/b>/b>… See more details below
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Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much-beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laureled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck: A Love Story. Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.
The Washington Post
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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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."
"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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Meet the Author
Christopher Moore is the author of fourteen previous novels, including Lamb, The Stupidest Angel, Fool, Sacré Bleu, A Dirty Job, and The Serpent of Venice. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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In 1288, King Lear of Britain decides to divide his kingdom into three monarchies run by each of his daughters. Who inherits what will be determined by Lear based on whom he perceives loves him the most. His best friend and most loyal subject the Earl of Kent warns him he is acting the fool with this proposition; for his honesty he is exiled from the nation.
His eldest daughters Goneril and Regan constantly flatter him and tell him how much each loves him; their ducal spouses also go out of their way to cajole their father-in-law. His youngest child unmarried with suitors Princess Cordelia refuses to sweet-talk her dad with blatant lies; instead she is honest and sincere with him refusing to exaggerate her love. Irate with Cordelia, Lear leaves her nothing; instead he splits the kingdom between Goneril and Regan. However, as King Lear descends into madness, his decision leads to murder and war.
Paying homage in a cheeky way to the Bard, Christopher Moore¿s take on the classic King Lear play is a brilliant mix of bawdry bedroom-bathroom comedy with a tragic novel in five acts. The story is told by the one person who knows everything that is going on because as the FOOL everyone except the apprentice FOOL Drool assumes subconsciously that Pocket is too stupid to understand court intrigue by the royals and the retinue. Well written and entertaining, Mr. Moore captures the essence of Lear in this fine rendition that is summed up by mentioning the rationale for having a ghost is simply ¿there¿s always a bloody ghost¿.
Lear is not my favorite Shakespeare play, and I've only ever seen a few productions (haven't read it), so I went into this story kind of blindly. About midway throught the book, I thought to myself that I'd like to read the play. But then I skipped forward to the author's notes and realized that I really didn't need to. Mr. Moore has taken the story of Lear and shifted the perspective of the reader so that we see the story through the minor player The Fool (and what a vulgar fool!). He is the Forrest Gump of the story, but whereas Gump stumbled through history unknowingly tangled in the strings of fate, Moore's fool manipulates those same strings like a master puppeteer. Fool is extremely funny (the kind of book that causes the reader to receive strange looks from people because of the sudden bursts of laughter [yeah, I kind of worry my family sometimes]). Maybe I will read the original afterall, then reread Fool.
For those of you familiar with Christopher Moores brand of humor, you're in for a treat. Gone are the foggy San Franscico street settings of his previous novels, instead, you're a plunked into the world of King Lear, and just like "Lamb", previous departure from familiar characters, Moore adds his own brand of twisted humor to one of Shakespeares most devistating tragedies. While not as engaging as Lamb, or as formidible in scope, it's a satisfying read and one that will leave you laughing. Although the humor is much more scatalogical then his other books.
I can understand a few people being put off by this book as there's no getting around the fact that it is indeed filled with foul language, potty talk, and sex. So flat out, if that is something you either find childish, not funny, or offends you, DO NOT READ this book. However, if you aren't offended by that type of stuff, this book is a very ingenious trip through the King Lear world. Did I mention it was funny? This is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Carl Hiaasen books are a favorite of mine and I haven't laughed this hard since reading his stuff. Christopher Moore takes all sorts of parts and pieces from Shakespeare to build the story of King Lear from the point of view of his jester named Pocket. Pocket is smart, very smart and very funny. It's almost like a Monty Python bit at times which isn't a bad thing at all. I'll end by saying that I haven't enjoyed a book as much in a long time and while it's going to be a love hate type of deal from person to person, this book is pure genius in my mind and funny as hell! I agree with the other review that says listening to the book is a great idea in this case as it's just a brilliant performance and really adds to it all with all the different voices he does for the characters. So not for the prude or faint of heart or those who just don't like potty / sex humor, but for everyone else, it's a hoot.
I am a true fan of Christopher Moore. I have not read a scrap from him that I didn't like - now wait - love! But, Fool left me a bit ill. It was forced, unfunny and not up to Moore's standards for wittiness. Possibly if you are a non-fan you may enjoy this story of a court jester that is written in a Shakespearean tongue. But, I couldn't get past the characters lack of inspiration. Fool revolves around a jester, Pocket, who is no real fool. Where the interesting use of words - to imply a curse word - is lost the boring story line and characters take over. Not worth my time.
Here she goes again. Ruining another book with her cliff note book report. Bn, please ban this obnoxious poster already. She continuouly reveals every detail of the book, including the ending, she is the absolute worst plot spoiler here, and that is saying a lot. Please ban her and delete all her plot spoiling posts.
Wonderful, vulgar, and plenty of laughs. First book by Christopher Moore, enjoyed it very much.
If Monty Python's Flying Circus had ever done a performance of "King Lear", co-scripted by Douglas Adams (author of the "Hitchhikers" series), the result would exactly like "FOOL". It's one of the most hilarious parodies ever written (and I've read quite a few). And to those Shakespearian purists who imagine that Shakespeare is turning over in his grave, he probably is..laughing his ass off! (If said purists don't believe me, I suggest they read "Naughty Shakespeare", by Michael Macrone).
Such a good read, to bad I could not read any foot notes (B&N is working on that part of the new Nook). I would encourage anyone to read this book, if they have time to chuckle with or without a "Nuncle".
I am a huge fan of this author and have read all of his work. This book ranks right behind "A Dirty Job" in my opinion. The author takes Shakespeare's King Lear play and loosely interprets it in his own unique style. If you have read Lamb/Biff-Christ's childhood friend, this has the same flavor. The story is told first person from the perspective of Pocket the King's Fool who is witty and sarcastic but seems to get away with all he attempts. It has many colorful characters and was a fun read. I tried to read it slow so I could enjoy the interplay between the characters. I didn't want to miss any of his dialog, as the author slides subtle insults and jokes in his story line throughout the book that way. I am always sorry when I end one of his books, and as usual I cannot wait until his next comes out. Definitely recommended reading!
All at once this book is fun and funny. Who knew fools had so much to say?! Moore has taken bits and pieces of different Shakespearean plays and combined to make a truly unique spin on King Lear told from the perspective of who?...the fool of course! Sex, lies, politics, witches what more could you want?!?!. Read if you love Shakespeare. Read it if you hate it. But don't read it you don't have a great offbeat and unconventional sense of humor. If comic suspense or perhaps comic intrigue exist as ways to describe a novel (and even if they don't) you will find yourself continuing to read simply because you "just gotta know" what going to happen.
Christpher Moore gets better and better. After reading Fool it made me want to go back and read King Lear. However, and no disrespect to The Bard, I just didn't think it would be as funny, so I passed.
I thought the funniest novel I would read in 2009 was going to be "Supreme Courtship" by Christopher Buckley and it's funny still. But for downright spectacular writing, conception and follow-through, I cannot imagine anything topping Christopher Moore's "Fool." Briefly, the plot is that of King Lear, as told by, commented upon and altered by Lear's jester, Pocket of Dog Snogging. The infamous daughters, Regen and Goneril, are right and properly snogged, snagged, shagged, tossed, humped and ridden by any number of characters, most notably Pocket's friend and companion, "Drool," nicknamed that for obvious reasons. He is called a "Natural"-a fool born to be foolish because of mental impairment. Pocket is a self-made fool-and he makes anything that walks while Drool shags anything that has orifices-such as the oak trees with knotholes on the way to battle that he so enthusiastically shags that he supplies the country folk with a year's supply of acorns in one afternoon. And Cordelia is not left alone, either. She's in love with Pocket, of course, a perfect substitute for Jeff, her gay French husband. (Not in the dramatis personae of Shakespeare's version.) "Fool" is written as if it were a collaboration between Robin Williams, Monty Python and Stephen Colbert and is funny if you don't know either Shakespeare or Lear and even funnier if you do. Moore is not above awful puns and he wisely doesn't limit himself to the somewhat vague Middle Ages vocabulary or list of references. Mazda is mentioned, along with the ancient kingdom of "Merica" that may contribute a cheeseburger or two and various Shakespeare plays that are NOT Lear are quoted from liberally. The necessary witches live in Birnam Wood, of course, but they are from Macbeth, not Lear, and Hamlet gets into the plot as well, though he is too preoccupied to do much bonking. And there has to be a ghost. This is Shakespeare. It is impossible to select just one quote from the book to illustrate the humor and madness of the style but this is merely typical of the kind of quick turn and play on words and Shakespearean concepts that makes the engine of this novel run: One of the villains is confronted by Pocket and his dummy, Jones. The villain huffs: "I'll not have an exchange with an impudent fool." "He's not impudent," said Jones. "With proper inspiration, the lad sports a woody as stout as a mooring pin. Ask your lady." I nodded in agreement with the puppet, for he is most wise for having a brain of sawdust. "Impudent! Impudent! Not impotent!" Oswald frothing a bit now." And this is a mild case. Moore goes up to the edge of silliness many times but manages to pull back every time, just in time to make an even funnier point than silliness would have provided him. There is even a bit of pathos in the story, though I wouldn't recommend looking too hard for it. This novel is written by an author who loves to play with his craft and all his tools and who clearly has a remarkably good time doing it. For fun, belly-laughs and a classic example of how to write comic fiction with wit instead of mere cleverness, "Fool" is a perfect and valuable purchase.
Not nearly as good any of his other books. Story line is terrible and difficult to understand. Had this been the first book of his read I would never read another.
Not very good
Chris Moore never fails to dazzle me with his wit and creativity. Fool is no exception. He has turned Shakespeare on his ear. Fool recounts the story of King Lear as told by his fool, Pocket. As Fool says, "heinous f----ry abounds!" Moore mixes old English with contemporary slang and as always is clever without being cloy. Although Fool isn't as laugh out loud funny as some of his other offerings, there's more than enough mayhem to put a smile on anyone's face.
Fun read but the characters got a little muddled to me. Didn't realize it was based on Shakespeare's works when I bought it, but that made for an exciting story. Christopher Moore delivers again!
This book is not for everyone. The humor is crude and the characters are completely evil. With that said -- I absolutely loved this book. It was funny and outrageous. I didn't need a degree in Shakespeare to understand it. In the beginning I was a little tripped up by the language. By the second chapter, my brain had time to adjust and I just got swept up in the story. Pocket was a great main character -- rude, crude, brave, smart, and funny. The end was a little soap opera-ish (not that I minded) with characters learning about their birthrights and the ghost's true identity being revealed. Overall, it was a fun read that left me laughing. To see my whole review go to:http://barneysbookblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/review-fool-by-christopher-moore.html
If you read Christopher Moore's Fool in public, you will start laughing out loud, probably guffawing even if you don't guffaw, and people will wonder why you can't control yourself. Read it in the presence of a friend, and you will test your relationship for you will want to read passages aloud, and go on and on. Entertaining as that will surely be, it will take you away from the balance of the book. Moore is an unrelenting wit at work in this book, every page a delight. Eerily often, you'll think, did Shakespeare really write that? Well, he may not have written every word (in fact, Shakespeare may not even have written any Shakespeare, but that's another story), yet the plot and characters will sound distantly familiar. Is it as bawdy as They say? No, it is bawdier, Yes, and more raucous. It is not for the easily flustered-by-classic-as-well-as-innovative raw humor. (But then, there is some smut in a close read of much of the original Shakespeare.) I predict you will be a better person after reading this book. If you believe, as another more recent bard has written, that you'd "rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints", this book, Dear Reader, is definitely for you.
Although slow to start (for me), this new take on King Lear ended up being a delight. Once you get started, it's a raucous, rowdy, randy ride all the way to the end. Moore's intensive Lear research pays off in so many ways, from the twisty language to the character development to the wonderful footnotes that become a book within the book. The hallmarks of a great Moore read are still there in the snappy dialogue and loveably prickly characters. The protaganist, Pocket, is a love, as he is so fond of calling Lear's daughters. This is written by someone who honors the original story (ok, ok, so it's not so original...get over yourself) in a way that I believe the Bard himself would have loved.
It seems to me that most people are just now learning about the talented Christopher Moore. I've been reading him for years and telling EVERYONE I know about his quirky books. He's like a David Sedaris or Woody Allen ramped up a notch or two. FOOL is no differnt in that it is wisely written with a beautiful style. Be warned though: this is not a book for kids! I love this guy--he's tooooo funny!
Thoroughly Enjoyed I have not read "King Lear", but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was my first Christopher Moore book, and I'm hooked. It was witty, engaging, and a fast-paced read. The characters were interesting and believable. Pocket and Drool obviously steal the show. I would highly recommend this book, whether you have read "King Lear" or not. I can't wait to dig into my next Christopher Moore novel!
Moore tackled Shakespeare's King Lear right into the mud and gave it a 'right good sodding'. Moore is irreverent and brilliant and crude and erudite all on the same page. Full of hilarious anachronism, bawdy humor, and quick-witted word play The Bard himself would be proud of, he somehow manages to squeeze in some actual ideas about power and the things it does to people. Fool is a bit like what one could expect if the creators of Monty Python, and Black Adder met up with Eddie Izzard and they all got drunk together and decided to rewrite Shakespeare without the iambic pentameter. Or maybe what Shakespeare would write today for an HBO / BBC production. Lots of nudity, gratuitous sex, violence, and twisted plots all set in a beautiful, albeit historically inaccurate time period. This book is for twisted people who want to laugh at the world, themselves, and love language. Or at least love foul language mashed in with all the inappropriate witty remarks. Moore takes liberties with the plot of King Lear but really, it wasn't like Shakespeare created it of whole cloth.... The book reminded me of just how crude the Bard could be (and Moore has some wonderful expletives of his own) and how history was malleable to him. It is rare a book that can make me laugh out loud and leave me with line after line running through my head. I gave up highlighting passages I liked because by the third chapter it was looking like a textbook from a freshman who had no clue how to highlight only the important points because everything seemed important - everything here was funny. Now, I say all this with caution. This book, this humor is not for everyone. Like, "fundamentalists" of any ilk. Or people who don't get Shakespeare (you missed the humor in Hamlet????). Or people who can't laugh at the true absurdities of life. Or people who who keep a cuss jar. Or anyone who believes in censorship.... or can't laugh about sex.... or well, you get my drift. No? (I typed in bloody perfect f****** French.)