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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fool
In writing Fool, Christopher Moore has set himself quite a challenge - he has attempted a radical (and rascally) reimaging of King Lear, one of Shakespeare's most revered tragedies. As unlikely as it may sound, however, Moore has pulled off his foray into surrealist Shakespearean satire with great aplomb. Fittingly, given Moore's desire to turn tragedy into comedy, the...
Published 10 months ago by Erin Britton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Epic disappointment
Maybe I am outgrowing Moore. I loved Lamb and A Dirty Job, and enjoyed his other books enough. The concept here and the moral ambiguity of Pocket are the strongest points, but this one really dashed my hopes. Moore can't stop making American jokes when he is trying to be British, and unlike Lamb, where this sort of worked, here it was a crashing mess. As an ardent...
Published 17 months ago by SciFiMagpie


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fool, 15 Oct 2013
This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
In writing Fool, Christopher Moore has set himself quite a challenge - he has attempted a radical (and rascally) reimaging of King Lear, one of Shakespeare's most revered tragedies. As unlikely as it may sound, however, Moore has pulled off his foray into surrealist Shakespearean satire with great aplomb. Fittingly, given Moore's desire to turn tragedy into comedy, the narrator of Fool is King Lear's court jester. The eponymous Fool is Pocket, a short of stature and shorter still of morals foundling, who was raised in a nunnery until various nefarious teenage shenanigans led to his being turn out to earn a living through his wits. Being a multi-talented fellow - he can caper, insult, throw knives, forge letters and even make the melancholy Princess Cordelia chortle - Pocket found employment at the court of the unwitting and indeed witless King of the Britons, Lear. Unfortunately for Pocket, while the fool can do no wrong in the eyes of the King, just about every other original Shakespearean character wants to kill him.

As Fool opens, the plot stays fairly true to that of King Lear. Lear is growing old and so wants to divide his kingdom between his three daughters but, being a vain and conceited old man, he decides to base the apportionment on how much his daughters tell him that they love him. While his two eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan, flatter him with false words of love, Lear's youngest daughter tells him the truth and so he foolishly disinherits her. As Cordelia is banished and married off to a French Prince, Lear divides his kingdom equally between Goneril and Regan on the proviso that he will spend half the year living with one of them and half the year with the other.

Before long, of course, Lear's two favoured daughters are cuckolding their pompous husbands, scheming against each other, vying for the affections of Edmund, bastard son of the Duke of Gloucester, and neglecting their dear old dad. Heart-broken and abandoned, barking-mad Lear is driven from the castle and out into a terrible storm with only Pocket left to sort matters out for him. Even for a fool as skilled in the ribald as Pocket, such a task is no easy matter for there are many things rotten in the state of Britain - there have been a spate of murders, madness, sexual intrigue, witchcraft, war and even ghostly visions. But, with a little help from fool in training Drool and the three witches from Macbeth - Parsley, Sage and Rosemary ("What, no Thyme?" "Oh, we've got the time if you've got the inclination, handsome") - Pocket dons his best motley and rises to the challenge.

Fool is a hell of a lot of fun. Moore has taken the tragedy of King Lear and turned it into a laughter inducing combination of darkness, comedy and medieval action porn. The humour might well be bawdy and the language some of the most creatively colourful that I have read in a while but it all serves to enhance, rather than detract from, the story. While the plot of King Lear forms the backbone of Fool, Moore has deviated from it and the other Shakespearean characters and devices that he evokes in several key, and devious, ways that result in Fool being an ingenious work in its own right rather than merely an homage. Innuendo-laden and wonderfully depraved, Fool is a gut-bustingly hilarious book and a joy to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Epic disappointment, 3 Mar 2013
This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
Maybe I am outgrowing Moore. I loved Lamb and A Dirty Job, and enjoyed his other books enough. The concept here and the moral ambiguity of Pocket are the strongest points, but this one really dashed my hopes. Moore can't stop making American jokes when he is trying to be British, and unlike Lamb, where this sort of worked, here it was a crashing mess. As an ardent Shakespeare fan who recognized and could quote the plays he cross references, the goofy tone and inability to let the darkness of the material show through, bugged me. Lear is just too unsympathetic and the material is too silly, with frivolous bells rather than the black comedy it needed. The thing that annoyed me most was that it ended like every other Christopher Moore book. I could wax at length about what else was wrong with it. A lot of people will disagree, but if you are hoping for a dark and serious comedy, skip this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very dissapointed, 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book after the first chapter or so. Very witty and funny, but then the vulgarity of the book came through and I just lost interest. It just feels so unnecessary and really puts off the flow of the book as you don't really want to sit there and visualize some of things written. It may very well get better further in but the simple fact I was so put off so much so early really put an end to my experience with this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Shakespeare, 28 Feb 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
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I must admit that before reading this I quickly re-read King Lear as I haven't read it for a couple of years. To be honest Christopher Moore has kept the main story as it is in the play, more or less. King Lear, based on a Celtic legend is one of the if not the greatest tragedy penned by the immortal bard and it is something that may make you cringe thinking that someone has tried to write a new comic version.

I started this with some trepidation, not really knowing what to expect, but I must admit that this was an easy read that did have me laughing out loud in places. Although you don't necessarily have to know the play or have seen a version of it, it obviously does help, also if you do have a knowledge of Shakespeare's other plays (which fortunately I do). This isn't just a parody of King Lear though, as there are lines from and references to other plays by Shakespeare that you can easily work out as you read along. With lots of swearing and other displays of bawdiness this is well written and will bring a smile to your face. If you are a purist you may not wish to read this, but even so I think that it could well attract people to actually sitting down and reading the plays by the greatest writer of all time. A good effort at trying to tackle something that is part of our heritage. If you wonder why Moore has set this in the period when he has, and with unerring lack of understanding of our history then you will find the answers in his afterword, which is well worth reading.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wow, this fence is sharp, 25 May 2010
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
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I've seen a few Christopher Moore books kicking around and always thought I'd have a look but never seemed to get round to it. I love Pratchett, Robert Rankin, Tom Holt, Jasper Fforde et al., so this should in theory be right up my alley.

As Sid James would say "Hyuk-yuk-yuk".

And therein lies the problem. Taking a psuedo-historical plot, Moore has tried too hard to cram this book full of none-to-subtle humour. A decent tale with engaging characters, the plot at times is bent purely to get more toilet humour in. Whilst I don't mind it (big fan of the Carry On films see?), it can get a little too much at times and you want nothing more than to give the author a slap and telling him to get on with the actual story.

If you don't like toilet humour or just aren't in that frame of mind, then you simply won't like it - it is silliness for sillinesses sake.

I'll give him another go though. Fnarr-fnarr.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A crude rendition..., 23 Jun 2010
By 
D. O'Brien "D.O'Brien" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
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I have to be honest, and say that I'm not entirely sure why this book has been written. Christopher Moore has produced a version of Shakespeare's 'King Lear', but told entirely from the viewpoint of Lear's court jester, the Fool of the title.
As far as the plot goes, Shakespeare wrote that, end of story. There's nothing inventive enough about the interpretation that Moore has put on it to make it worthwhile recommending this book on that score.
So what else is there? Well, Moore has tried to use the voice of the jester, and possibly his idea of what people were generally like in either Shakespeare's or Lear's day, to inject some (read a lot of) bawdy 'humour' into the proceedings. Unfortunately this is done in the style of an American, with a half knowledge of sometimes old and sometimes modern English profanity, writing for the benefit of other Americans. To an English reader the liberal footnotes explaining what he's saying distract from the flow of the text, and not in the entertaining way that Terry Pratchett used to use them. This injection of the author's voice breaks the illusion of the narrative badly, and frankly there's no enough skill in the rest of the book to make up for things like that.
This isn't the first Christopher Moore book I've read, as I believe in giving an author a fair chance, but it's not impressed me any more than the first did. I can't agree with the comparisons between Moore and Pratchett, as Sir Terry (forgetting the most recent Discworld book perhaps) is of such a higher standard that the comparision just doesn't stand up. In fact there are many authors in the humourous fiction category that would be between the two.
Ultimately, the reading experience might be a little different for someone with no knowledge of King Lear, and who isn't natively English, but for me I just can't recommend this. The plot isn't original, the conceit no more so, and the attempts at bawdiness are too frequent and too close to outright unfunny obscenity that I can't think who the audience of this book might be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bawdy Bordering on Boring, 25 Mar 2010
By 
I. Bullen (Wigan, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
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I came to this book with high expectations: Moore's reputation, a Carl Hiassen endorsement and a proclamation that if you like Terry Pratchett you'll love this book all led me to believe I'd seriously enjoy laughing at this novel. In truth, I didn't laugh out loud once, which is a fairly shocking state of affairs for a bawdy comedy.

True, Moore's writing style is strong and the re-telling of King Lear from his Fool's perspective is a great idea. However, the attempt to seemingly replicate a very English humour falls alarmingly flat. Moore cites many UK influences in an author's note at the end of the novel, amongst them Monty Python, Douglas Adams and Eddie Izzard. Yet the novel rarely shows any of the inventive wit and, importantly, warmth of humour that each of those have imparted in their many and varied projects. It is this that lets the tale down more than anything - ignoring the hugely patronising footnotes that appear at intervals throughout the book - imagine the shock at seeing a Terry Pratchett reference on the cover, anticipating something akin to his mordant wit, and then excitedly discovering a footnote sure to be laden with puns and deadpan fun, only to find the author irritatingly explaining, without any trace of irony whatsoever, what a chamberlain is!!! And this happens on many occasions (with different words and phrases, naturally!).

Moore seems to miss the point that sometimes swearing/bawdiness/general rude word saying often works best as a comedic tool when they appear from nowhere to shock and stun the reader. When we are bludgeoned over the head with them page after page after page, they lose their ability to shock and, consequently, to amuse.

Fool isn't without humour, there were passages that raised a wry smile or two, but the bawdiness referred to in all the cover-blurb becomes very tiring very quickly and anyone wanting a degree of intelligence in their comedy should, in all honesty, look elsewhere.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stick With It, 12 Jan 2012
This review is from: Fool (Kindle Edition)
I think some of the reviews for this book are a bit unfair.

I've read all of Moore's work and have to admit to having left this to one of the last because of what it's based on, Shakespeare's "King Lear". And it did take me a couple of chapters to finally get into it. But when I did I couldn't put it down.

Anyone who takes on a much respected, classic tragedy with such detail, obviously admires the original. And, I think, shows it the respect it deserves, without the reverence we've now given it. Moore's added a "Carry On" twist to a definitive masterpiece. And it works. Yes it's bawdy and blunt but so was the original. We just don't perform it like that now.
Read it, then go back to the play and imagine Bernard Bresslaw as "Lear", Sid James as "Pocket" and Barbara Windsor as "Cordelia".
If you respect the "Bard" - don't read it unless you've got a sense of humour.
It made me laugh - but then "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me." Still gets me everytime!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pant wettingly funny, 7 May 2011
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This review is from: Fool (Kindle Edition)
Christopher Moore always makes me laugh, and this is a gem. For sheer laughs and lunacy it puts me in mind of Lamb - The Gospel According to Biff, mad and irreverent.

The Fool (character) is top notch and the Shakespearean insults he throws about are hilarious - "badger shagging spunk monkey" is now stuck in my mind.

Absolutely brilliant!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining enough, but hard to get enthusiastic about it, 19 Aug 2010
By 
A. Key "Electric Monk" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fool (Paperback)
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A bit of a laugh and very (very) bawdy, but lacking much in the way of wit and subtlety. And the way the author puts in completely serious footnotes to explain archaic (or just non-American) words is excruciating.
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Fool by Christopher Moore (Paperback - 4 Feb 2010)
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