Monday, March 9, 2009

"Fool" Christopher Moore

It's no secret that I adore Christopher Moore. He has the ability to change perspectives. Take death for instance. It's not something that I think about often if I can help it. Well, I at least try not to think about it. In "A Dirty Job" Moore takes the idea of death and turns it on its head. And he manages to make it funny while he's at it. He's also tacked the tricky subjects of vampirism, Jesus, demons, and whales and managed to make them all look different by the time he's done with them. With "Fool" he's done it again, and this time he's tackled Shakespeare. And he's done a brilliant job.

"Fool" is (very) loosely based on Shakespeare's play "King Lear". Pocket of Dog Snogging is King Lear's personal fool, called upon when one of the royal members of the castle needs cheering up. His specialty is cracking vulgar jokes at inopportune moments, which are not always appreciated by the various members of and visitors to the castle, many of whom would like to see him hung for his flawless comedic timing. Pocket has an apprentice fool, Drool, whom he has grown quite attached to, despite the fact that he's big and stupid. Besides being King Lear's fool, Pocket also performs for King Lear's three daughters, Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia, all three whom he's grown quite affectionate towards over time.

When King Lear starts feeling his age he decides to divide his kingdom among his daughters. He asks all three in turn to profess their love for him, and as a result of their speeches he will decide who gets which parts of his kingdom. When his youngest daughter, Cordelia, gives the most honest speech of the three Lear has her banished from the kingdom, setting off an irreversible chain of events that can only end in bloodshed. Pocket manages to set some of these events in motion with the help of the castle ghost (there's always a bloody ghost) and three witches (making a guest appearance from Shakespeare's Macbeth). The result of these characters coming together is nothing short of hilarious.

I really loved "Fool". I would even venture to say that this is my favourite Christopher Moore book to date. This book is truly intelligent, subtly borrowing characters from many of Shakespeare's plays and bringing them all together to result in a laugh-out-loud novel. The plot is interesting, you can't help but love Pocket, and the whole thing comes together quite nicely in the end. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I will recommend it to anyone who asks. I've read other reviews and this seems to be one of those "you either loved it or hated it" kind of books, and I decidedly loved it. Browse Inside and find out for yourself what all of the hype is about.

Up Next: I'm poised and ready to begin reading my recently acquired copy of Anne Giardini's "Advice for Italian Boys".

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