By Christopher Moore
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780060590314, 336pp.)
Publication Date: February 10, 2009
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"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 nontraditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank . . . If that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!"
Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laurelled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck (no offense). Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there's always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.
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.
Christopher Moore is the author of twelve previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, Fool, and Bite Me. He lives in San Francisco, California.
“Less may be more, but it isn’t Moore. Wretched excess doth have power to charm, and there are great reeking oodles of it strewn throughout these irreverent pages.”
-Kirkus Reviews on FOOL
“Moore compares favorably to Tom Robbins – crazy adventure, clever twists, feel-good philosophy – crafting a laugh-out-loud romp with Bard-worthy smarts.”
-Philadelphia City Paper on FOOL
“A page-turner…. Your ‘Lear’ can be rusty or completely unread to appreciate this new perspective on the Shakespearean tragedy. That is if you enjoy a whole lot of silly behind the scenes of your tragedies.”
-Valdosta Times (Georgia) on FOOL
“The very definition of a bawdy romp: a broad, elbow-in-the-ribs, wink-wink homage to King Lear (but with quantities of shagging that would have kept legions of Grade 12 students glued to their copies had the Bard only thought to include it). …[A] riotous adventure.”
-Winnipeg Free Press
“It’s hard to resist so gleeful a tale of murder, witchcraft, treason, maiming, and spanking. . . . Moore’s deft ear for dialogue keeps the pages turning . . . Fool is a wickedly good time.”
-Christian Science Monitor on FOOL
“In truth, Fool is exuberantly, tirelessly, brazenly profane, vulgar, crude, sexist, blasphemous and obscene. Compared to Moore’s novel, even Mel Brooks’s hilariously tasteless film “Blazing Saddles” appears a model of stately 18th-century decorousness.”
-Washington Post Book World (Michael Dirda) on FOOL
“Funny, literate, smart and sexy, all at once!”
-Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter series, on FOOL
“In transforming “King Lear” into a potty-mouthed jape, Moore is up to more than thumbing his nose at a masterpiece. His version of Shakespeare’s Fool, who accompanies Lear on his slide from paternal arrogance to spiritual desolation in the original text, simultaneously honors and imaginatively enriches the character.”
-San Francisco Chronicle on FOOL
“Often funny, sometimes hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters and ministerial students of the kind who come to our doorstep on Saturday mornings.”
-Dallas Morning News on FOOL
“You don’t need to be a Shakespeare expert to get this retelling, which keeps the bones of the tragedy (mad monarch, scheming daughters, moatful of mayhem) but rattles them with cheeky tweaks and plays it all for laughs.…[Moore] achieves bust-a-gut funny.”
-Daily News on FOOL
“[W]all-to-wall, farcical fornicating and fighting…a jolly good time can be had.”
-Booklist on FOOL
“Moore is a very clever boy when it comes to words. There are good chuckles to be had in this tale. …Whether you need to read the original King Lear before you read Moore’s Fool is debatable. Seems a fool’s errand to us. Just enjoy.”
-USA Today on FOOL
“Moore turns things on their head with an edgy 21st-century perspective that makes the story line as sharp, surly and slick as a game of Grand Theft Auto… It’s a manic, masterly mix-winning, wild and something today’s groundlings will applaud.”
-Publishers Weekly on FOOL
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org