- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate (2 July 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841153656
- ISBN-13: 978-1841153650
- Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 2.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,470,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Perfect Fool Paperback – 2 Jul 2001
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‘Set in a bizarre world where Iain Sinclair's fiction melds with a Coen Brothers’ screenplay…deliciously unpredictable.’ Observer
‘Lee’s characters bridge some kind of metaphysical Grand Canyon between London and Arizona. His writing is precise, weird, dark and wondrous. Comic moments appear at the most un-comic of moments. This book is mighty fine.’ Rich Hall
‘If Stewart Lee was fatter, shorter, uglier, posher and really, really, really boring, “The Perfect Fool” would be a sure-fire Whitbread contender.’ Steven Wells
‘It seems grossly unfair that, having already garnered fame, fortune and critical acclaim as a stand-up, half of a successful double act and, more recently, as a director, Stewart Lee should have produced such an ambitious, intricate and impressive novel at his first go.’ Observer--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
The Perfect Fool charts the progress of a collection of misfits, spread across the wide open spaces of Arizona and the narrow streets of South London, all unwittingly caught up in a quest for the Holy Grail.
Mr Lewis believes he was once an astronaut; Sid and Danny's Dire Straits covers band isn't exactly filling the pubs of Streatham; Tracy travels between Las Vegas and the Mexican border, fleeing the suspicion that she's a serial killer; Bob, a Native American clown, no longer finds anything funny; Luther, an acid casualty 60s rock star, has long since forgotten the most basic chord shapes; and Peter Rugg lost a cigarette down the back of a Portobello Road sofa thirty years ago and is still looking for it.
These seemingly unrelated individuals eventually collide in the deserts of the American South West, where they form an uneasy alliance. Stewart Lee's first novel combines an eclectic range of characters and cultures with an instinctive comic touch.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Well, the answer is that it happens a bit like in a film. This is an extremely cinematic book, communicating mostly through its economically but effectively described visuals. It would look good on a screen; it looked good in my head. In some places I thought the Hollywood tone prompted the use of slightly clichéd settings, and on first impressions you might think you've met some of the characters before. But this is misleading. These people, even the villains, are deep and make sense.
This is a book that gathers momentum magnificently. It's basically unputdownable from about three quarters through. Like a good movie, you know when and where the payoff is coming but have no idea how a resolution can be found. I was sure there would be a sad ending. I was sure that any journey to destroy your past must be futile. Actually, the finish is surprising and wise.
This is definitely worth reading. I actually missed Lewis, Tracy, Luther, Sid and even Danny after they'd gone. I think that's a pretty high recommendation.
TITLE: THE PERFECT FOOL AUTHOR: STEWART LEE
As part of the tale, Stewart Lee informs (or possibly reminds) us of an ancient American Indian legend which describes "a beautiful ugly monster". It's a fitting description too, for a book which deals both with eternal high concepts and everyday base minutiae, blending them into a story-line which draws together Hollywood style landscapes and London high street grime.
World-wide secret organisations and conspiracies... plodding prog-rock bands... religion... nostalgia... ropy old sex videos... and many a mid-life crisis... just about every source of pub conversation for the mid-to-late 30's male is introduced into the story at one point or another.
The prose style in which he chooses to do this resembles some proto-stream of consciousness which actively unfolds or creates the tale as you watch, rather than that of merely relating a series of events which has happened already. The resulting effect is an almost beatnik manner of delivery, combined with an air of the ancient spoken story teller, at once adding gravitas and supplying a (deliberate ?) mocking tinge of underlying sarcasm.
This in itself won't surprise long-time Lee fans, who will doubtless delight in spotting many of his favourite lines, from 'skelingtons' to 'Look impressed' and a dozen other familiar catch-phases, subjects and situations. But there's little cause for the uninitiated to worry, as everything you need to know is explained along the way, without intruding on the gathering pace of the proceeding plot. In fact, even Mr Lee's customary self-evident smugness at being so well-read can be forgiven, as it all makes sense in the end. That is to say, there are no obvious loose ends left dangling in the ether.Read more ›
It's a collection of stories, all concerning the grim underbelly of our world, and the people who inhabit it. Eventually, all their tales beautifully interwind into one. This book takes in the freemasons, burned-out 60's rock stars, women who can't keep a living boyfriend, and a motely crew of other no-hopers.
I don't want to give away the plot, but I will say this: It's an amazing book, and you'd have to be bl***y stupid to pass it up. Bl***y, bl***y stupid indeed.
The interesting and diverse characters of the book provide much entertainment, whilst the fast-paced interchanging of the scenes told in the most spectacular prose ensure that boredom does not set in for one split-second. An extraordinarily absorbing book, it's not that I couldn't put it down, just that I didn't want to. Stewart Lee's obvious intelligence and wit shines through in his writing, making for a delightful read.
If you are not already a huge fan of this man - you soon will be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely Brilliant - Stewart Lee could easily go back to his first career -Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
I took a couple of run-ups at this book, and I'm glad I did. I love Stewart Lee, I think he's ok. He's cranked out a great first novel, in my opinion - it's darkly byzantine, with... Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2014 by Steve Harrison
Bought as a gift - my husband is a big Stuart Lee fan and he seems pleased with the bookPublished on 12 Sept. 2014 by VMJ
Didn't quite know what to expect from Mr.Lee, but was very pleasantly surprised. Beautiful use of language, some very interesting characters and a satisfying conclusion. Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2014 by Mr. D. Stokes
I LIKE THIS BOOK IT SMELLS OF STRAWBERRIES AND TASTES OF CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. And has a Good story Thank youPublished on 18 April 2014 by Terence shuttleballs
A really accomplished and well written book. His writing flows beautifully and it is a pleasure to pick up. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2013 by Jonathan