I finished Fool by Christopher Moore last week and have been putting off a ‘review’ for the sole reason that Moore’s humour is very subjective. Not everyone is going to find a character who talks in bad British slang, swears a ton, and belittles the French all that funny. In fact, more historically-acurate people would probably be offended by Moore’s sense of geography. And more literary-snobbish people would be insulted by Moore’s mangling of Shakespeare. But Moore’s style of humour is absolutely hilarious to me.
In the Author’s Note, Christopher Moore wrote, “I didn’t begin ‘Fool’ as a tribute to Shakespeare; I wrote it because of my great admiration for British comedy.” I have to whole-heartedly agree with this! The Brits just have such a different style of comedy. I don’t watch many North American comedy shows (save for SNL) but when I go to England, it seems like every show has a special brand of comedic undertones.
Now that I’ve gone on and on, I’m sure you’re wondering, ‘what the hell is it about anyway?’ Well, I know some people find this tacky, but the cover copy seems to entice the reader into Moore’s humour better than I could hope to by summarizing the plot (aka King Lear):
A man of infinite jest, Pocket has been Lear’s cherished fool for years, from the time the king’s grown daughters—selfish, scheming Goneril, sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot) Regan, and sweet, loyal Cordelia—were mere girls. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege’s side when Lear—at the insidious urging of Edmund, the bastard (in every way imaginable) son of the Earl of Gloucester—demands that his kids swear their undying love and devotion before a collection of assembled guests. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father’s request is kind of . . . well . . . stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.
Well, now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. The whole damn country’s about to go to hell in a handbasket because of a stubborn old fart’s wounded pride. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket, a small and slight clown with a biting sense of humor. He’s already managed to sidestep catastrophe (and the vengeful blades of many an offended nobleman) on numerous occasions, using his razor-sharp mind, rapier wit . . . and the equally well-honed daggers he keeps conveniently hidden behind his back. Now he’s going to have to do some very fancy maneuvering—cast some spells, incite a few assassinations, start a war or two (the usual stuff)—to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear’s good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia’s twisted sisters, to rescue his gigantic, gigantically dim, and always randy friend and apprentice fool, Drool, from repeated beatings . . . and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who’s amenable to shagging along the way.
Pocket may be a fool . . . but he’s definitely not an idiot.
I also have to share the warning in the front of the book. This just reminds me so much of Puck’s final lines in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is especially fitting for Moore’s work, as Puck was the fool, like our main character Pocket.
“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 infinities, 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 oyu think you might enjoy, then you have hapened upon the perfect story!”
Okay, before I digress any further, I have to say that ever since I read A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, I have been anticipating reading more. I don’t know why I haven’t read some of his older works yet, but I was so excited to get my hands on Fool! If you need a good laugh, and don’t mind lots of shagging and profanity… pick up a copy today! You won’t be disappointed with Moore’s satirical comedy.
Still wondering if you’d like this kind of book? Go read Chapter One of Fool on Chris Moore’s blog!
Full disclosure: I received this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.