My Rating: A
This is a most excellent comedy, another genius work by Mr. Christopher Moore. The characters are alive and well rounded, and horribly lovable. The humor is to die for, often you'll be laughing out loud while reading. Don't be surprised if you get looks from across the room if you're reading this in a public place.
The story is full of intrigue and isn't just a comedy either. Like any Shakespeare it's also a bit of a tragedy. Characters that you grow to love, though they may annoy, die and not always nicely.
As much as I loved the main plot of this book, I loved the back story more. It was not only laugh out loud funny, but endearing and sweet. I am amazed at how the author can pull this off so well.
The only issue I had with the book was that I often got confused as to who was doing what and why? Who was killing whom and because they wanted what? But, I think to be honest, that this is my fault, not the authors. I also think that it'd be a lot easier to keep track in this version, than in Shakespeare's himself.
I highly recommend this to any Moore fan, and to anyone looking for a book that they just might pee themselves while reading.
Hmmm. I guess I'm in a minority here, but I thought this book was unsatisfying (to use a charitable adjective). I am a big Christopher Moore fan and was ready for another spectacularly funny book, but, by the time I got to about Act 3 (of the 5 acts) I felt like I was only reading the book out of duty rather than pleasure. The plot was hard to follow, the characters were flat, and, I hate to say it, but the comedy wasn't all that comical. Maybe I would have liked the book better if I had read King Lear more recently, but I really don't think that would have helped.
For people who love Christopher Moore already, of course, read this book. For those who aren't already his fans, though, PLEASE DON'T START with this one. Find Lamb or Blood-Sucking Fiends or even Fluke, for pete's sake, but if you start out reading this, I'm afraid you'll never pick up another Christopher Moore book, and THAT would be a tragedy!
I have only read one Christopher Moore book previous to this one and that was "The Stupidest Angel". While I enjoyed that book, it didn't make me a huge Moore fan...I thought a lot of it was kind of silly. When I heard that Moore was tackling the tale of King Lear and telling it from a fool's perspective; well that got my attention. I actually listened to this on audio book and the audio book production was extremely well done and probably contributed to how much I loved this book.
So you know the tale of King Lear...well if you don't look it up on wikipedia really quick and read a synopsis...this is a re-telling of that story. There are many exceptions, for example the witches from MacBeth are in here too, the timeline the story takes place in is questionable, and the Fool is the main character (he doesn't play that huge of a part in the original). The story is told from the viewpoint of the Black Fool. You have all your King Lear characters plus others, including the Fool's idiot apprentice Drool. There is much murder, foullanguage , and shagging...I mean a ton of it really; really the story is mostly shagging and murder and swearing....still it ends up being a really good story.
If you like Monty Python, or any type of inaccurate crude medieval humor this book is for you. In fact if you get your kicks out of watching British comedy in general; this is the book for you. That is as long as you have a strongstomach for foul language and shagging. I could not believe how much swearing and shagging are in this book...okay well I think I have driven that point home enough. In short this book was a riot, and I mean that in the modern positive sense of the word.
Moore whisks us through the antics of King Lear in a way that is entertaining, hilarious, intelligent, and somehow even a bit heartwarming. The characters are wonderful. The Fool is an amazing character, despite (or maybe because of) all of his antics he is am easy character to love. Lear's daughters are also entertaining, as is Lear himself. I was really impressed with how this book mishmashed so many things together to come up with a darkly humorous story that is actually somewhat touching.
King Lear purists should look away. Moore himself talks about the inaccuracies and liberties he takes with Lear's story in an excerpt at the end of the book; it was interesting to read how Moore prepared for this book and how he choose time settings, etc. Anyone who gets uncomfortable hearing the term "Shagging" in the context of a Shakespearean play may also want to steer clear of this one.
This book is one that will have me picking up more of Moore's books. Hilarious, intelligently witty, and a great all around story this was an excellent read that had me laughing out loud in pure joy, dark humor, and irony.
Christopher Moore can be very hit or miss for me. Initially I thought Fool would be a miss, but by page 30 I was hooked and off to the races with Pocekt, Drool, Kent, Cordelia and the rest. It upends the tragedy of King Lear making it a bawdy comedy.
At first I thought about writing this up for the Fantasy Friday entries for the blog (its got a ghost, right?), but decided against it, because I'm not sure its fantasy. It surely is a comedy though and is a lot of fun with laugh out loud moments for me.
Our guide to the mythical/fantastical England of Fool is Pocket, King Lear's fool. He's an outrageous little bastard (figuratively and literally) and oddly likable for all that he's quick witted, sharp tongued, impulsive to a fault and a womanizer. Still, unlike other attempts at similar characters, Pocket is likable, able to see humor in most situations (and his own advantage) and outrageously cunning. Character wise he has elements of Richard the III, Falstaff and Othello, still he is the good guy of the piece - which means the others are real pieces of work.
Fool is a parody of King Lear, so Shakespearean purists need not read. However, if you've ever seen the play, and dealt with it or read it and thought Lear an empty headed old goat, well, Fool is the book for you. The plot follows King Lear fairly closely but gets into details the play doesn't address, filling in a few plot holes while at it.
The book also makes King Lear nastier, Regan and Goneril a pair of dangerous fuming sluts and Edmund the bastard a supremely dangerous foe.
I can't say too much for fear of giving it all away, but its a lot of fun, a bedroom farce and worth reading.
Likes: Pocket; His relationship with Cordelia and Drool; Revelations about Lear; Looting other works by Shakespeare; Setting the book in a mythical medieval England; Making fun of religion - polytheism and Catholicism; Pocket's reactions to ghostly and witchy riddles of of prophecy.
Dislikes: How Drool is treated; Casual attitude towards women.
Suggested for: Anyone that wants a bawdy laugh.
Like, OMG where do I start??? Within the first 10 pages I had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks...Pocket is an amazing character and he leads you on a journey of, not a retelling, but an extension of King Lear...There are so many good things about this book that I can't even begin to tell you without giving something away...Let your mind set the stage while you read this book...I know actors that would play all the parts perfectly!!! Christopher Moore will spin you a tale that will make you blush, curl your hair, and make you laugh so hard you will wet your pants...Can't say enough about it man...GREAT stuff!!!