Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Foolscap” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  362 ratings  ·  27 reviews
When Ford Rexford, America's most celebrated playwright and notorious drunk, disappears to London with the only copy of Theo Ryan's play, Ryan sets off in pursuit--beginning an adventure which will catapult him from his dreary life in the wings to center stage in the world of international theater and literary controversy.
Paperback, 392 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Washington Square Press (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Foolscap, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Foolscap

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 562)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
A good old fashioned and epic romp with enough literary allusions to keep the most devoted bibliophile happy. Not only funny, but witty as well (not always the same thing). Malone keeps things moving at a remarkable pace without once losing his audience.

I love Malone's work and Hillston Police Chief Cuddy Mangum is one of my all time favorite literary creations but this book has nothing to do with the drama and humor of Hillston. This is one of Malone "journey" books (the other - Handling Sin is
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

I generally find the book club questions in the back of a book to be pretty damn dreadful, but on this occasion I liked this one:

Many faculty members at Cavendish are referred to by the subject they teach, with or without an actual name. What does this identification method suggest about personal identity and inter-personal relationships in academia?

Malone builds off the trope that All the World's a Stage and introduces a cast of academics, each a type, the African American woman who jokes “I do
Jim Leckband
"Foolscap" is a great name for this book. It can either mean paper used to print a book, or a jester's hat. Similarly, like all of Malone's books I've read, "Foolscap" has a serious "bookish" point while being jesterly wacky.

Theo Ryan is a Theater professor at a fictional North Carolina university who is having Hamlet problems. He is stuck and doesn't know how to get out of it. Until a writer (not a ghost...yet) comes to town and shakes him out of his funk. Ford Rexford ("Rex": King, "Ford": Cro
3.5 stars.

I bought this after a talk by the author, who was quite charming and inspiring. I picked this particular of his novels kind of at random, and I'm not sure it was the best beginning, though I liked many things about it. The ancillary characters are vivid and interesting, it's often quite funny, and the literary allusions are fun to me, though, I suspect, might work best only with those seriously entwined in literary academia.

Where the book suffers is in it's protagonist and it's pacin
Amber Creed
I couldn't even finish this book. I was so completely bored with everything about this novel as I tried to plod along. The premise sounded amazing from the book jacket. I like theater. I like quirky characters. I like books set at colleges. But this was too dull, too wordy, too meandering and too 'academic' for my tastes. I couldn't find myself caring enough about any of the characters. The first chapter drew me in... but that was about it for me.
May 17, 2007 Nick rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stodges
Shelves: fiction
This book was simply delightful. Nothing weighty, no punch in the gut. Just a slap on the face with a featherduster.

I'm having a hard time remembering - Theo is a big Jew. There's a legendary character named Ford. Theo opens his arms to experience and comes out of the closet (with regard to experiencing life more fully and being a creative artist, not especially with regard to homosexuality). Ford helps him.

Theo acts in a play, falls in love with a beautiful country singer, then writes a play. H
Took me awhile to get into this half the book. But I did get hooked and wanted to follow Theo to the end. Loved the whole premise in the end. Unusual and became intriguing.
Mary Frances
Jul 25, 2008 Mary Frances rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any adult who loves great character and writing
My second favorite, or maybe favorite, Malone book. Malone is a great writer- funny, warm, in love with his characters. This book, about Theo, a drama teacher in a southern school who is marking time, is a charmer and more. Theo is awakened from his slumber by a foul-mouthed playwriting genius, a strong, loving country music singer, and a cast of great and funny supporting characters. It's also a great comedy of manners about life in academia. Just writing this review makes me want to pull it of ...more
After Malone's name kept coming up in lists and reviews of wonderful books/writing, I randomly chose this title (mostly because it was immediately available for Kindle). I abandoned after 20%, but to be fair, will give this author another try.

The writing was very good, engaging, and smart. The plot, however, revolved around theater and academe, neither of which I have much experience or interest. As the insider references piled one upon the next, I felt evermore like an outsider with absolutely
Anne Gnagi
A fun mix of English department politics, theatre, British history, romance, deception, & humor.
Ray Francis
This is an enjoyable, and reminds me a little of Robertson Davies' Salterton Trilogy (though Davies is a few levels above Malone). Like Davies, Malone's characters are vain, funny, eccentric, and complex. Also like Davies, Malone finds human touches to add nuance and something approaching compassion for even otherwise unlikeable characters. The sweep of the novel is fun, and threads of the plot blowing about in the wind are nicely and naturally tied together.
This was a humorous look at academic life from the administrative side--reminded me of "Straight Man" by Richard Russo. There were also serious parts of the story--the friendship between Theo Ryan, professor of English and Joshua "Ford" Rexford, a brilliant yet self-destructive playwright--was very real and very moving. I'm glad I discovered Michael Malone with "Handling Sin"--I need to get going on reading his other books too.
Deon Stonehouse
Foolscap by Michael Malone is a hilarious book set in the world of academia and theater Professor Ryan’s life is complicated when a scheme is hatched to pass his play off as a newly discovered work by Sir Walter Raleigh. You will meet some odd but entertaining characters, like Dame Winifred Throckmorton. Funny, beautifully written, and wildly entertaining, it will make you want to read more books by Michael Malone.
Amy Turner
While I was reading this, I thought it was just so-so, but kept going because it was a Duke bookclub selection, and the author was coming to speak. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the talk by the author, which was very funny, and may read more of his books. I later spoke to the author at the Hillsbogough Farmer's Market (he lives in Hillsoborough) and he seems really nice.
Mar 29, 2008 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margaret by: It was a gift from my daughter Jen
Anyone who enjoys smiling at the foibles of academia will enjoy this book. A favorite character is Winifred Throckmorton, a true lover of British literature who lives in a cottage crammed full of books and other odds and ends, perhaps the dream house in which we readers imagine ourselves spending our golden years. This book is FUN!
I liked this book. But I am an English and Theater major with an advanced degree. I enjoyed the interaction amongst the English department faculty, and the theater process as plays are produced. Don't know what others without that interest would think.
It was amusing. Not gut-bustingly funny like some of his later work.
I nearly didn't make it past the first chapter - the whole book is seriously in need of an editor - but the story (and some of the characters) turned out to be kind of charming. If it was the only thing to read in the cabin on a rainy day, I'd say go ahead & read it; otherwise don't waste your time.

Michael Malone is hilarious, & this book is probably the most accurate depiction of the politics, infighting & general neuroses of higher education ever to be penned. That I laughed appreciatively at it, not out of shock, has made my summer in graduate school that much more bearable.
Malone's other novels have been far too stiff, mannered and interminably boring for me to venture past the 50th page, but this is an exciting literary romp that falls somewhat in the range of the Wonder Boys by Chabon. Except that this is far funnier and much more fun.
A new bookclub at work has selected this book. Exciting because the writer will be coming in a few weeks to give a reading.
I loved every bit of it. A rich canvas of characters, great plot, laced with humor. Malone is my favorite author.
His best book. Makes fun of intellectuals and the British and high society parties.
Very funny. very clever. Continually surprised me by not going where I thought it would.
Lee Charlton
Great book. Full of humor and historical and literary references. Well done!
witty, learned, surprisingly brisk
Bob added it
May 28, 2015
Jess Lynn
Jess Lynn marked it as to-read
May 26, 2015
Angelia marked it as to-read
May 19, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cordelia Underwood: Or, The Marvelous Beginnings of the Moosepath League
  • The Flamingo Rising
  • Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (Doctor Dolittle, #10)
  • Pictures from an Institution
  • Topper Takes a Trip
  • The Forbidden Castle (Choose Your Own Adventure, #14)
  • Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror
  • No Laughing Matter
  • Forest of Doom (Fighting Fantasy, #3)
  • Seventy Two Virgins
  • Eating People is Wrong
  • Space and Beyond (Choose Your Own Adventure, #4)
  • The Provincial Lady in London
  • Clan Ground (The Named, #2)
  • The Yokota Officers Club
  • The Flight of Dragons
  • Tepper Isn't Going Out
  • Eddie's Bastard
Michael Malone is the author of ten novels, a collection of short stories, and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he is now a professor in Theater Studies at Duke University. Among his prizes are the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award, and the Emmy. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with his wife.
More about Michael Malone...
The Four Corners of the Sky Handling Sin The Last Noel Uncivil Seasons (Justin & Cuddy #1) Dingley Falls

Share This Book

“Time is so terribly inconsistent, I find, the way it hurries on or stands still.” 0 likes
More quotes…