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Fool: A Novel
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Fool: A Novel

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  95 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Barnaby Griswold makes a terrific living from foolishness. A New York investments player who does his research eating and drinking, a joyously well-to-do man with absurd instincts for the next deal, Barnaby senses possibility even in two Oklahoma car dealers across a dining room at La Cote. He joins those boys for a carousing flight to Oklahoma City, and there divines the ...more
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published January 9th 1999 by Algonquin Books
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Jan 07, 2014 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very strange story of an antihero and his recovery. It's like Confederacy of Dunces, but the reader never really ends up siding with the main character, so as a sorry of redemption, it's pretty strange. There's lots of beautiful imagery and word play, but the middle of the novel relies too much on this, while the story slips and skids along.
Jun 28, 2013 Suzan rated it liked it
There isn't much to like Barnaby Griswold. Privileged, lazy, over indulgent and clueless - he reminds me of Flounder in Animal House ("fat drunk and stupid is no way to go through life.") Barnaby is a Wall St deal maker who specializes in hunches and fast scores - no research to it. He is "that guy" that we all know, doughy, ridiculous and the life of all the parties ... Until he gets too drunk. Barnaby's successful investment bets allows him access to the most privileged social circles in ...more
Tim Roast
Fool is about a fool, or a fluffmeister. He is Barnaby Griswold and he has spent his life fluffing through deals, and doing alright in that it seems. Except this book sees him on worse times as he has got in trouble for his deals (short selling), is divorced, has no money, and is suspended from trading so is basically not doing anything (he has never had a proper job in 46 years of life).

So that is the plot pretty much although as Nancy Pearl (an American librarian who reads a lot) explains in h
Oct 09, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this back when I still sometimes read paperbacks, which was about a year ago. I finally got around to reading it and it was good. Barnaby Griswold is the eponymous fool, a "fluffmeister" according to his father who uses other people in order to make money for himself. But after a deal goes sour and Barnaby is banned from finance for four years, he ends up hitting rock bottom in Oklahoma City, where he maybe starts to turn things around.

The book starts slow but eventually starts to take sha
Lynn Lipinski
Nov 28, 2010 Lynn Lipinski rated it it was amazing
This is a poignant and beautifully written story of Barnaby Griswold, a fool with a knack for making money and making deals. When the story begins, we find him clawing his way back to life after catastrophic financial losses and an ugly divorce. The novel is sprinkled with little bits of perfect honesty about life, hope, death, failure and the ability to bounce back. Dillen's first novel, Hero, won the Dictionary of Literary Biography's first novel prize.
Jan 07, 2014 jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Yeah, what that guy said (other reviewer). You never come to embrace the narrator. I'm OK with hating my narrator, OK with anti-heroes, etc, but not when I'm so aggressively held captive in their fumbling, clownish POV. You kind of want him to die, or just stop having feelings.

Nancy Pearl, master librarian, you are batting about .500 on these picks of yours lately. I tread with new caution.
Tralee Cable
Oct 22, 2012 Tralee Cable rated it it was amazing
this was a fantastic tale of the merits of self reflection and rewards for changes wrought through perseverence and hard work one oneself. a totally lovable and identifiable antihero who had me standing in my chair cheering him on, while holding my breath and not daring to hope for the dream. Go Barnaby Griswold !!
Feb 10, 2012 Cherl rated it liked it
My annotation: “You’re a fluffmeister” are the last words Barnaby Griswald’s father ever says to him. Yet a fluffmeister is Barnaby’s default, as much as he may try to be an athlete, a lover, or a pilgrim.
Jan 02, 2014 Kelsey rated it it was ok
I picked up this title because it was in Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series. It was very well written, but included a little too much self-reflection from the protagonist (who also largely served as the antagonist) for my taste (it seemed to drone on a bit).
It wasn't just that the anti-hero character wasn't someone you really wanted to bring home to Mom. I just had a hard time staying interested in his trials and tribulations. I really rather liked the mother-in-law, though.
Aug 16, 2012 Pieshine rated it liked it
Read this because I enjoyed Nancy Pearl's others suggestions. Overall liked it, but found it very slow moving. However, loved the of my favorite endings. Interesting read, but took time to get through.
May 27, 2015 Martha rated it really liked it
This book is a funny and timeless tale of redemption that takes you from busy NYC and tony New England to Oklahoma and the "Old Ladies' Bank Deal."
Sep 08, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it
A clever little book short on plot but rich on character development. I can definately identify with the main character, Barnaby Griswold.
Apr 16, 2015 Natalie rated it really liked it
Imagine combining Gob Bluth with Michael Scott, adding a dash of Sheldon Cooper, and you have Barnaby Griswold. Very entertaining!
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Frederick Dillen is an award-winning author whose short fiction has appeared in literary quarterlies and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. His first novel, Hero, was named Best First Novel of 1994 by the Dictionary of Literary Biography. His second novel, Fool, was honored by Nancy Pearl as a Book Lust Rediscoveries selection in 2012. Dillen and his wife, Leslie, are parents of two grown ...more
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