Fool on the Hill: A Novel by Matt Ruff | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Fool on the Hill

Fool on the Hill

4.9 11
by Matt Ruff
     
 

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It is a literary event when a genuinely new fictional voice comes along. When that voice achieves its newness not through a certain formal facility but through the freshness of its vision, there is truly something to celebrate. Matt Ruff was only twenty-two when Fool on the Hill was first published, but with his novel he gave us a story that won over readers of

Overview


It is a literary event when a genuinely new fictional voice comes along. When that voice achieves its newness not through a certain formal facility but through the freshness of its vision, there is truly something to celebrate. Matt Ruff was only twenty-two when Fool on the Hill was first published, but with his novel he gave us a story that won over readers of every persuasion. Not your usual first effort, Fool on the Hill is a full-blown epic of life and death, good and evil, magic and love.

Think of the imaginative daring of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale. The zany popism of Tom Robbins’s Another Roadside Attraction. The gnomish fantasies of J.R. Tolkien. Think of these and you begin to get some idea of one of the most remarkable first novels to come along in years.

In the world of Fool on the Hill dogs and cats can talk, a subculture of sprites lives in the shadows and underfoot (if you’re the sensitive type, or drunk enough, you might see them cavorting across the lawn), and the Bohemians, a group of Harley- and horseback-riding students dedicated to all things unconventional, hold all-night revels for the glory of their cause.

Then there is Stephen Titus George, the novel’s youthful hero, who somehow finds himself the main player in a story that began well over a century ago. George is a mild-mannered flier of kites, a sometimes writer of bestselling fiction, and would-be knight looking for a maiden. George will find his girl and the century-old story will provide the proverbial dragon whose slaying will sanctify their love. But it will not be a sword that fells the foe but the transforming power of the imagination.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This exuberant first novel unfolds at Cornell University, the alma mater of its 22-year-old author, who has re-imagined his school as the center of a violent and funny modern-day fairy tale. Stephen Titus George is a young writer longing for true love and a great story to tell. With the mysterious appearance of Calliope, a sorceress who can transform herself into anyone's vision of female perfection, both of his dreams begin to come true. Ruff shapes an adventure for his protagonist that includes everything from poisoned apples to winged dragons, all set on a campus where there isn't a professor in sight and where the actions of dogs, cats and invisible sprites are as meaningful as those of the students. On its way to a certain happy ending, the story falls short of its own ambitionsit's vastly overpopulated with extraneous characters (human and otherwise), and packed with self-conscious, punning references to everyone from Beckett to A. A. Milne. Too many of Ruff's narrative devices exist only to spotlight the author's cleverness, but at its best, his debut brims iwth good humor and imagination. (October)
Library Journal
In this comic fantasy a young writer-in-residence at Cornell University searches for true love and combats the forces of evil. Ruff uses the stock motifs of fairy tale and myth, but his treatment is remarkably inventive. Inspired by the mysterious Calliope, Ruff's hero learns to write without paper and thus, by the force of his imagination, to revise the mundane scenario of life in Ithaca. Aptly named S.T. George, he vanquishes a green canvas dragon and thereby foils the malignant plot of Rasferret the Grub. The multi-layered plot also includes animals who communicate by telepathy and tiny sprites with Shakespearean names. Ruff's exuberant tale will appeal strongly to readers with a taste for the fabulous. Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802135353
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
12/28/1997
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
540,529
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

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