Finished: Feb. 15, 2009
First Published: Feb. 9, 2009
Genre: fiction, humour
Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada. Plus Moore is one of my favourite authors.
"Tosser!" cried the raven.
Comments: Christopher Moore's latest book is a spoof on Shakespeare's King Lear, as well as Shakespeare's writing itself, a few elements from other plays are imported into the story as well, Macbeth's witches, for example. This is quite different from Moore's other books, he's written in a British style, using British slang and some of Shakespeare's original words, using footnotes for definitions of words possibly unknown to Americans.
Another difference from his other books is that while Moore, who always has a certain humour that you either find hilarious or offensive, (and for some reason Moore hits my funny bone and I've never found his humour offensive) at first, I found this book really goes overboard with the language and s*xual imagery and it was quite a bit of a shock but I soon settled down into it and it didn't bother me after a couple of chapters. If you've read Shakespeare you will know that he often used bawdy imagery and often his characters ranted at name-calling. It is quite interesting to see that imagery and name-calling in a modern format. I could even possibly imagine that were Shakespeare a 21st century writer, this is how he may have written.
I'm quite glad I chose to read a modern English version of the original play, King Lear, before reading Fool as I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much if I didn't already know who the characters were and understand the original plot. Moore keeps all the key plot points of Shakespeare's work but he does not become stuck to the original plot. He soon sways from the original creating his own unique story with extra characters, very different results and ending. King Lear is only a minor character in this book, while his Fool (a minor character in the play) is the narrator and main character of the book.
I really enjoyed the book after getting over the initial language/s*x shock. It was a bit of a slow start but from the middle onwards I couldn't put it down. While fans will find this different than Moore's other work I'm pretty sure his devotees will enjoy this book. As to others who have not read Moore perhaps the warning on the back of the book "If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by." should be taken to heart. Not Moore's best book, (that spot is reserved for A Dirty Job, imho) but certainly up to par with his other work. A winner!