Thursday, January 14, 2010


I was captivated by Christopher Moore's Fool, wonderfully read by Euan Morton, from this opening sentence:
"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!"
What followed from there was not only eight and a half hours of the finest British humor, but an incredibly clever Shakespearean parody and pastiche. Fool takes the story of Shakespeare's King Lear and turns it inside out, as seen from the point of view of Pocket, the king's fool. Kind of like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but much much funnier and much much more engaging. Not only does he work the Fool's story seamlessly into the existing story of King Lear, but he manages to weave an entirely new tale, full of politics, intrigue, a bit of magic (and yes, lots of shagging and bawdiness) into it. It was amazing, because if you know the story of Lear, you know how part of it is going to have to go, and yet you still don't know how it's going to get there, or even how it finally turns out. And it was so much fun to get there. The story is jam-packed with Shakespearean allusions, quotes, jokes, and even a few characters (like Macbeth's witches) shamelessly imported from other plays into this story. And the story would completely stand on its own, both for humor and intrigue, even if you didn't know much Shakespeare at all. What a rollicking great romp!

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