Last seven days were quite intense. Fool by Christopher Moore seemed the sensible choice to raise my spirit. I always think that it is funny when an author writes a warning aimed at dissuading the casual reader from actually reading a book. Fool comes with a full disclosure about language, topics, and other sins against society at large. I think that it is even funnier when readers, who had read the warning, write incensed critiques about such book. For the sake of being clear, I will repeat few of the jewels bestowed upon us, not so casual readers who take time to check beforehand what the book is about, by Mr. Moore. So, keep reading my review only if you like British humor. If, for example, you are the kind of person who buys tickets for the Eddie Izzard’s show at the Paramount, without knowing anything about the guy or the show, there are good chances you are going to run away from the theater, Seattle, and eventually from Washington State. My recommendation is to educate yourself. Always. And to stop reading my review now. Nothing good is going to come out of it. Also, stop reading immediately if you don’t want to know how Fool ends. My lawyers, aka my husband and my daughter, have just explained to me the intricate concept of the spoiler alert. Otherwise, please be my welcomed guest.
Remember King Lear, the one written by the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare? If yes, good for you. You are a discriminate reader. If not, don’t worry. You are in good company. Mine, just to name one. Fool is King Lear narrated by Pocket, the court fool, hence the title, who is not an idiot. The little man, who has quite the naughty tongue, schemes and plots through the whole tragedy until the story is a tragedy no more. Pocket writes the letter for Edmund, who is aptly named the bastard for his origin and bleak soul. Pocket also leads Goneril and Regan in circles until they are both entangled with the bastard. Almost everything in the story happens because Pocket wants Cordelia for himself, and since he is smartest of the whole bunch, he succeeds. Princess Cordelia is spared the cruel, and unnecessary, death Shakespeare had decreed for her, and ends up marrying our fool. Pocket is the new king and everybody is happier with this version. Especially Cordelia.
I truly enjoyed reading Fool because it’s language is that kind of funny that engages the brain. When Taster says: “I am sick a lot.” Pocket comments, “Of course you are, it’s the bloody Dark Ages, everyone has the plague or the pox.” When in another segment the pox is mentioned referring to the bastard’s mother, one Shanker Mary says: “Unfairly maligned, the poxy are. Methinks a spot o’ the pox implies experience. Worldliness, if you will.” Feel free to try your conclusions about the Shanker Mary character. Pocket expresses his sentiments for Edgar, the bastard’s brother, with the following words: “I have never cared for the bastard’s brother Edgar, either. Earnest and opened-faced is he. I don’t trust anyone who appears so trustworthy. They must be up to something.” Pure genius. Pocket so describes the letter he has composed to trap poor trustworthy Edgar: “In a half-hour I had crafted a letter so wily and peppered with treachery that any father might strangle his son at the sight of it and, if childless, bastinade his own bollocks with a war hammer to discourage conspirators yet to be born.” Pretty strong image. And although I could keep quoting Moore’s Fool for hours, and I will end my critique with the one dialogue that made me laugh so loud and for so long that my husband bought his own copy of Fool for his Kindle.
Pocket asks Drool why he has slept outside on the horse dung again, and Shanker Mary intervenes to explain that Drool is not allowed in the great hall, where everybody sleeps rather promiscuously, because his snoring frightens the dogs. “For snoring? Not allowed in the hall? Balderdash!” Pockets says. “And for having a wee on the steward’s wife.” Mary ads. “It were dark.” Drool explains. “Aye, and even in daylight she is easily mistaken for a privy…”
Nice reading everybody!