Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Fool

Filed under: Fun,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Sunday, I finished Fool: A Novel by Christopher Moore.

First of all, you should know that I pretty well love almost anything that Christoper Moore has written.  Granted, some are better than others, but I started with him back when Practical Demonkeeping was new and not even a best-seller yet.  It always struck me as funny when my parents told me about this “new” author who’d written a brilliant re-telling of the Gospel titled Lamb:The Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood pal.  So, that enthusiasm for his work may effect the way I see his most current work.

But, I’ll say this, it is good.
Fool is a retelling of King Lear from the point of view of Lear’s jester, commonly known as a fool.  Naturally, that’s where the book gets its title.  Now, King Lear, if you’re not familiar, is a play by William Shakespeare about a king who, for foolish reasons, divides his kingdom amongst his three daughters, based on how much flattery they can heap on him.  The only problem is one of his daughters, the most faithful and true, in fact, won’t play the game, so he splits his kingdom between his two deceitful, unfaithful daughters.  They’re supposed to take care of Lear in his old age, but they really don’t want to take care of him so he’s sort of forced into the Medieval equivalent of homelessness.  It’s quite the tragedy.  But not in Christopher Moore’s hands.

No, Moore takes this tragedy and makes it into a damn fine comedy, thanks to his narrator.
Moore is mostly true to the story according to Shakespeare, but with a few additional anachronisms.  His writing is light and pithy and quite enjoyable, not to mention smooth and easy.  Really, considering the weight of the subject matter, it’s a testament to his writing that the book moves so easily and well.
The story follows a fellow named Pocket, who is born somewhat disadvantaged and orphaned.  He’s left on the doorstep of a nunnery and it’s the nuns who raise him.  He has some misadventures along the way to adulthood and a job working for Lear as a fool, though we see all that as various flashbacks.  The main story line starts with Pocket relating the tale of how he watched Lear foolishly divide his kingdom.  Then, the tragic results of that somewhat stupid decision.  But, as I mentioned, somehow, he manages to make it a comedy.

Oh, hell, you’ve probably read or seen King Lear at least once.  This is the same story only funnier and written in more modern language.  And, anything by Moore is pretty good, so, all in all, I’m saying, buy this book and read it.  You won’t be sorry.

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