Stephen Fry, noted British actor, humorist, and presenter, retells Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo with a modern setting. Fry has done more than simply assign anagramed names to the main characters (Edmond Dantes=Ned Maddstone and the Count becomes Simon Cotter); he has reworked this tale of unjust imprisonment and obsessive revenge until the mechanics of it are totally believable.
I came to this book because I wanted to see what kind of writer Fry is. The book is a bit out of my genre, but I found it entertaining and a quick read.
A very inventive and fun re-do of The Count of Monte Cristo with all the attendant coincidences and narrative goal of the original. I've read and listened to this book (narrated by Fry himself) and I think hearing it has added enjoyment.
Really enjoyed this book. Not my usual cup of tea, but it was engaging.
Originally published in the U.K. as The Stars' Tennis Balls, this U.S. edition contains a new afterword, Fry's July 29, 2002, "Writers on Writers" column from the New York Times, "Forget Ideas, Mr. Author. What Kind of Pen Do You Use?" In it, Fry reveals that this book is a "literary reworking" or "homage" to The Count of Monte Crisco, which Alexandre Dumas had "lifted" from what was, "in Dumas's day, a kind of urban legend." Characters' names are anagrams of the original. For example, Edmond Dantes, who reinvents himself as Monte Crisco, becomes Ned Maddstone, who reinvents himself as Simon Cotter. Apparently the book is also full of awful puns, few if any of which I got, even though I read the afterword first.
Great book! Very entertaining.