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Book 142: Fool by Christopher Moore

Book 142: Fool.
Author: Christopher Moore. 2009.
Genre: Historical Fiction. Parody. Comedy. Shakespearian Re-Telling.
Other Details: Paperback. 384 pages.

WARNING. This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavour only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!" - Christopher Moore, opening to Fool.

Fool is a comic re-telling of Shakespeare's King Lear from the viewpoint of Lear's fool, here named Pocket. Along the way he also manages to insert quotes and characters from other of Shakespeare's plays, such as Macbeth's witches. Moore opens the novel with the above warning and closes with a comprehensive author's note titled: You Cheeky Git, in which he explains why he elected to re-tell Lear and addresses "those sticklers who will who want to point out the anachronisms in Fool, rest easy, the whole book is an anachronism".

Yet turning King Lear into a comedy was never going to be an easy task and while this was in many ways a fun romp, especially in the first Acts, the comedy was later over-taken by the tragic elements of the story. It was one of those novels that sort of worked for me in some places and in others fell flat. The bawdiness also became somewhat repetitive. I found myself in agreement with the The Washington Post's reviewer, who wrote: "while 'Fool' is certainly amusing .... its blithe crudity can grow a little tiresome at times, no matter how much one generally admires Moore's copious and almost Bard-like razzmatazz."

Christopher Moore's web page for 'Fool' - includes synopsis, chapter excerpt and picture of Moore as a Fool.
Tags: comedy, historical fiction, shakespeare
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