This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,...If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!' So speaks Christopher Moore, one of America's funniest and bestselling authors, regarded as highly as classic satirists such as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Read Fool and discover for yourself why this book has dominated bestseller lists across the world, and why it has reduced millions of grown men and women to tears of helpless laughter...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages, map
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 01/02/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780751543957
- EPUB from £5.99
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Review by gaskella
It’s a brave man that takes on Shakespeare. It’s an even braver one that takes a tragedy and makes a bawdy comedy of it! Moore has taken a deep breath and re-told King Lear from the Fool’s perspective. Now I’ve seen three different productions of Lear – it’s unrelentingly tragic, nary a chuckle to be had in the whole thing – will it work as a comedy? I know Moore from his rather Tarantinoesque vampire novels, Bloodsucking Fiendsand You Suckwhich were very funny, and full of sick, warped and ultraviolent humour, so I sort of knew what to expect here. But just in case you’re in any doubt, Moore prefaces the novel with the following …‘This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,…If that’s the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!'Moore leaves the main plot of Lear in tact: the King is still a bitter and twisted old man, his elder daughters are still really nasty pieces of work, Gloucester still has his eyes gouged out, and there is treachery and betrayal around almost every corner. Putting the Fool, here nicknamed Pocket, at the centre of things livens everything up tremendously. Pocket becomes the go-between twixt all the factions, and does a considerable amount of stirring himself, particularly as many of the characters, Cornwall (Regan’s hubby) and Edmund (Gloucester’s bastard son) would dearly love to kill him. But he’s under the protection of the increasingly mad king, and charged in particular with ‘entertaining’ his daughters, so this allows Pocket to actively bait his enemies and being nimble of foot and quick-witted he always manages to get away. He gives the Fool a back-story too – Pocket is brought up as the only boy in a Nunnery, where he’d been abandoned as a baby. He’s given the job of talking to the ‘Anchoress’, a holy woman, walled up in a cell – eventually he finds another use for the arrow slit that is her only window on the world and has to go!Moore does take huge liberties. There are references to and quotes from much of Shakepeare’s oeuvre (see below), and by locating Albany’s castle (Goneril’s Hubby) in Scotland, he’s able to have Pocket and Kent visit Macbeth’s witches in what I’d call a ‘cooking sketch’ (après Keith Floyd). He’s also free with anachronisms (as long as they make a joke); here Pocket meets a troupe of travelling thespian who are rehearsing a classic play - 'Green eggs and Hamlet'!Does it work? Well mostly … It obviously helps if you’ve seen or read the play, and have some familiarity with Shakespeare’s other best bits. The caution at the start is a great summary, for sensitive souls and those who dislike coarse language will not get on with the book; the broad-minded who like a laugh will certainly have some shagtastic fun reading this. The only problem is, that like the play, it does go on a bit and I was beginning to tire of this medieval romp, but all in all I really enjoyed it. The author’s afterword is also worth reading. Moore explains how it all came about in characteristically humorous fashion. The end result is that I’d happily read more Moore. (Book supplied by the Amazon Vine programme).