Friday, March 13, 2009

Fool by Christopher Moore

I just knew I was going to like this Advanced Readers Edition of "Fool" when it showed up wrapped in brown paper sporting a warning:
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 endeavor 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!

Fool is Christopher Moore's retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. However, he doesn't simply retell it. He takes the tragedy, transforms it into a comedy, adds in characters and storylines from other plays along with some sexual innuendos and bawdy antics and comes out with a hilarious and highly entertaining story narrated by Pocket, the fool in King Lear's court.

Pocket was abandoned as a baby by his mother. He grew up in an orphanage and eventually ends up "working" for King Lear by entertaining his youngest daughter, Cordelia. Because fools are not taken seriously, Pocket can say whatever he wants. He's had his life threatened more times than I can count, yet, along with his protégé Drool, he continues to pester and insult those around him while trying not to get caught shagging the King's daughters. He manoeuvres his way around the court and manipulates others to achieve his desired outcome. All in a good way, of course.

This book is hilarious and I enjoyed it immensely. I know lots of people who love Shakespeare's works; I'm not one of them. In high school, I did everything I could to get out of reading Shakespeare. Even now, I probably wouldn't pick up one of his books. I don't find the style in which the plays are written to be accessible. Having said that, for me this book was very accessible and not at all like one of Shakespeare's plays. While I enjoyed the story, it was lascivious behaviours of Pocket and Drool that kept me interested all the way until the end. I just couldn't wait to see what trouble they'd get into next.

The author's note at the end is worth reading. Moore explains a lot about how Fool came about and explains his research into Shakespeare's works. It's interesting stuff.

For more information regarding this book, head over to HarperCollins website to Browse Inside or read the synopsis.

Highly recommended for those who aren't scared away by the warning. ;)

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