Fool

( 319 )

Overview

Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, now takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) with a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters, as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.

Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to ...

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Fool

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Overview

Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, now takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) with a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters, as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.

Pocket has been Lear's cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege's side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father's request is kind of … well … stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

Well now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. And the only person who can possibly make things right … is Pocket. Now he's going to have do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, start a war or two—the usual stuff—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear's good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia's twisted sisters, and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who's amenable to shagging along the way.

Pocket may be a fool . . . but he's definitely not an idiot.

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Editorial Reviews

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Jeff Lindsay
“Funny, literate, smart and sexy, all at once!”
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.”
The Barnes & Noble Review
Writers as eclectic as Angela Carter, Jane Smiley, and Edward Bond have contended with King Lear's fretful elements, retelling Shakespeare's tragedy with twin Cordelias, a straightforward Goneril lacking guts and gumption, and an onstage autopsy. But the satirical novelist Christopher Moore has zeroed in on the Fool's perspective, adding references from Monty Python, Airplane, and The Office into his errant and irreverent quarto.

This referential riffing is not as sacrilegious as it may seem. Let's not forget that Shakespeare himself lifted plot elements and language from Spenser's Faerie Queene, John Higgins, Anglican bishop Samuel Harsnett, and Michel de Montaigne -- all authors who emerged less than two decades before Lear. So a nod to a 30-year-old cinematic classic ("And don't call me cousin") is reasonable under the circumstances.

And Moore certainly has the wry and wild theatricality to take the stage. Here is a writer who fused vampires, turkey bowling, and illegal immigrants into an oddly endearing novel, Bloodsucking Fiends. His religious send-up, Lamb, featured a forgotten apostle who had the hots for Mary, along with a tipsy Jesus who explained why bunnies were associated with Easter. When Moore has drifted down these zany and often iconoclastic byways, his boat floats like a smooth schooner, with the promise of a USS Vonnegut or an HMS Pratchett eventually emerging from the estuary.

But Fool is a makeshift kayak built from stray driftwood and second-rate lumber. The chief problem with Moore's 11th novel is that he severely underestimates his comic instincts. While the novel contains plenty of bawdy barbs and lowbrow riffs, it reads like the work of a man intimidated by the grand possibilities whispering to him from the waters.

There are clear signs throughout the book that Moore was exasperated by the source material, and these frustrations are confirmed in an afterword in which Moore confesses that, after a considerable intake of film and theatrical performances, "a person can only take so much whining before he wants to sign up for the Committee to Make Elder Abuse an Olympic Sport."

Aside from the many Riverside Shakespeare–like footnotes serving up mock explanations for such apparently abstruse terms as "décolletage" (defined here as "the road to Hooterville") and "balls up," Moore spends much of his novel kvetching about Lear's tone and internal logic. Moore expands this conceit by having the Fool -- here, named Pocket -- devising many of the manipulative ploys carried out by other characters. Of Edmund the Bastard's epistolary scheming, the Earl of Kent asks the perfectly reasonable question, "Why didn't he simply slay his brother?" Of Lear's constant cries to the gods, Pocket observes, "When pressed for a curse or a blessing he will sometimes invoke gods from a half-dozen pantheons, just to be sure to catch the ear of whichever might be on watch that day." And Kent's stint in the stocks gives Moore the liberty to roll out an array of sodomy jokes. These saucy cracks aren't entirely out of line, given that Shakespeare had Kent telling Gloucester, "I cannot conceive you," a line that has been interpreted any number of ways by licentious scholars. Given such contextual attention, what's surprising is that Moore misses a wonderful comic opportunity to explain why the Fool and Cordelia never appeared on stage together.

While Moore's cranky quibbles are often amusing, he undercuts these gibes with a patchwork storyline composed of incongruous parts. He equips Pocket with daggers on his back, throws in a ghost who pops into the story every so often to prophesize doom, and even enlists the three witches from Macbeth to intervene. Such hodgepodge assemblies have worked for Moore before, but the approach is disastrous here, because the real Lear's taut togetherness remains a constant shadow. A tedious aside into Pocket's early days in a nunnery might be good for a few forgettable locker room laughs, but it can't possibly compare to the original's memorable intrigue.

When a novel becomes this problematic, it is probably not a good idea for the author to include a seven-page note revealing how his editor bullied him into writing about Lear's Fool while doped up on sleep medication. It is also not a good idea for the author to boast about how he has paraphrased numerous plays "largely to throw off reviewers, who will be reluctant to cite and criticize passages of my writing." This reviewer, who has kept up a somewhat embarrassing obsession with Shakespeare over the years and who has remained mostly mum on this because of a few regrettable experiences with needlessly intense SCA members, expresses no reservations whatsoever in noting a few of Moore's many references: the Duke Orsino's opening line from Twelfth Night slightly adjusted to "If music you must make, play on," Hamlet's "slings and arrows" now outrageously uttered by Gloucester, and Richard III's "winter of our discontent" transplanted to a backstage intermission.

Much of this is fun. But with Moore mired in nods to the Bard, his pleasantly eccentric voice is mostly lost. Moore does manage to sneak in "a pork shoulder the size of a toddler." And a carnal consideration bears "the auditory effect of a bull elk trying to balance a wildcat on a red-hot poker." When a writer can dash off such lively language, why would he lack the confidence or the ambition to merge his talents with Shakespeare?

Perhaps an answer to this question can be found in a reference to a "rosebud asterisk" matching up to Vonnegut's infamous anatomical shorthand in Breakfast of Champions. Whether this nod to a more obvious influence than Shakespeare represents a confession or an anxiety is subject to a psychological question beyond my ken, but one thing remains certain: A novelist, however talented, cannot develop his voice when he is constantly comparing himself to the greats who have come before.

There may very well be a grand galleon sailing out of Moore's slaphappy port in the future, with a raucous crew bellowing salty sea shanties and a confident skipper at the helm. But this won't happen unless Moore learns to love what he's skewering and trust what he's got. To write anything less is to be led off the cliff, stumbling as blindly as Gloucester. It's the stuff of tragedy. --Edward Champion

Edward Champion is a Brooklyn-based writer. His work has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Los Angeles Times, and other distinguished and disreputable publications. He runs the cultural web site http://www.edrants.com.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062003683
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 815,616
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore is the author of twelve previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, Fool, and Bite Me. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Biography

A 100-year-old ex-seminarian and a demon set off together on a psychotic road trip...

Christ's wisecracking childhood pal is brought back from the dead to chronicle the Messiah's "missing years"...

A mild-mannered thrift shop owner takes a job harvesting souls for the Grim Reaper...

Whence come these wonderfully weird scenarios? From the fertile imagination of Christopher Moore, a cheerfully demented writer whose absurdist fiction has earned him comparisons to master satirists like Kurt Vonnegut, Terry Pratchett, and Douglas Adams.

Ever since his ingenious debut, 1992's Practical Demonkeeping, Moore has attracted an avid cult following. But, over the years, as his stories have become more multi-dimensional and his characters more morally complex, his fan base has expanded to include legions of enthusiastic general readers and appreciative critics.

Asked where his colorful characters come from, Moore points to his checkered job resume. Before becoming a writer, he worked at various times as a grocery clerk, an insurance broker, a waiter, a roofer, a photographer, and a DJ -- experiences he has mined for a veritable rogue's gallery of unforgettable fictional creations. Moreover, to the delight of hardcore fans, characters from one novel often resurface in another. For example, the lovesick teen vampires introduced in 1995's Bloodsucking Fiends are revived (literally) for the 2007 sequel You Suck -- which also incorporates plot points from 2006's A Dirty Job.

For a writer of satirical fantasy, Moore is a surprisingly scrupulous researcher. In pursuit of realistic details to ground his fiction, he has been known to immerse himself in marine biology, death rituals, Biblical scholarship, and Goth culture. He has been dubbed "the thinking man's Dave Barry" by none other than The Onion, a publication with a particular appreciation of smart humor.

As for story ideas, Moore elaborates on his website: "Usually [they come] from something I read. It could be a single sentence in a magazine article that kicks off a whole book. Ideas are cheap and easy. Telling a good story once you get an idea is hard." Perhaps. But, to judge from his continued presence on the bestseller lists, Chris Moore appears to have mastered the art.

Good To Know

In researching his wild tales, Moore has done everything from taking excursions to the South Pacific to diving with whales. So what is left for the author to tackle? He says he'd like to try riding an elephant.

One of the most memorably weird moments in Moore's body of work is no fictional invention. The scene in Bloodsucking Fiendswhere the late-night crew of a grocery store bowls with frozen turkeys is based on Moore's own experiences bowling with frozen turkeys while working the late shift at a grocery store.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hawaii and San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 5, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Toledo, Ohio

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 319 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 321 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Paying homage in a cheeky way to the Bard

    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.<BR/><BR/>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.<BR/><BR/>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¿.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not Fooled

    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.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern meet Forrest Gump

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2009

    Rude...yes...FUNNY...YES!

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Moore fans rejoice!

    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.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    don't waste your time

    this book isn't very well written, nor is it engaging.
    i thoroughly enjoyed lamb, but this book is trifling and boring.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    Harriet klausner

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Wonderful

    Wonderful, vulgar, and plenty of laughs. First book by Christopher Moore, enjoyed it very much.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    Not recommended

    This book on tape lasted about 5 minutes. I did not find it funny, just in bad taste. I bought this on a recommendation from salesperson. It was suppose to be a light comedy. Not.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2009

    Fools Rule

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Christopher Moore- Fool

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Disapointing

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Could not finish

    I love all of Christopher Moore's other books, but I couldn't finish this one. For me the archaic English and the vulgarity of the novel made it difficult to continue slogging through. I didn't find the constant use of really nasty vulgar words and situations funny. The plot was too serious to be funny.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    His Best Book Ever!!

    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).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Funny

    I probably would've done better in high school English is we read this. Anyone who loves satire and British comedy will surely enjoy this.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2010

    FOOL

    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".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2009

    One of the worst books i've ever read

    I have read several of mr moore's previous books - and have enjoyed them - this one is just thrown together - loosely based on Shakespeare's King Lear. it's rude and crude with no redeeming values - in my opinion.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Next to Favorite from Christopher Moore

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    King Lear Made Fun?

    While not up to his book LAMB this is a jolly good read, don't let your parents read it though. Made me go back and reread King Lear and realize how good that Shakespeare guy was.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Not his best effort

    Having read all his books I would say that this was his worst effort. IT FELT TO ME THAT THIS WAS JUST THROWN TOGETHER.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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