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"Hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters, and ministerial students."
--Dallas Morning News

Fool--the bawdy and outrageous New York Times bestseller from the unstoppable Christopher Moore--is a hilarious new take on William Shakespeare's King Lear...as seen through the eyes of the foolish liege's clownish jester, Pocket. A rousing tale of "gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity," Fool joins Moore's own Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, and You Suck! as modern masterworks of satiric wit and sublimely twisted genius, prompting Carl Hiassen to declare Christopher Moore "a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word."

311 pages, Hardcover

First published February 10, 2009

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About the author

Christopher Moore

78 books89.9k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Christopher Moore is an American writer of absurdist fiction. He grew up in Mansfield, OH, and attended Ohio State University and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.

Moore's novels typically involve conflicted everyman characters suddenly struggling through supernatural or extraordinary circumstances. Inheriting a humanism from his love of John Steinbeck and a sense of the absurd from Kurt Vonnegut, Moore is a best-selling author with major cult status.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,790 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
February 13, 2012
Welcome, gentle goodreader, to a profane, irreverent and hilarious serving of shag-filled Shakespornean bawdiness.

Warning: Smutty naughtiness below (says Captain Obvious).

This...is...my new favoritest Christopher Moore, nudge nudging out the excellent Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal with ear-hugging, diamond-studded prose like:
‘The castle’s awash in intrigue, subterfuge, and villainy—they’ll be wanting-comic relief between the flattery and the murders.’
‘Intrigue and villainy?” Drool displayed a gape-toothed grin. Imagine soldiers dumping hogsheads of spittle through the crenellations atop the castle wall—thus is Drool’s grin, as earnest in expression as it is damp in execution—a slurry of good cheer. He loves intrigue and villainy, as they play to his most special ability.
‘Will there be hiding?’
‘There will most certainly be hiding,’ said I, as I shouldered an escaped testicle into his cod.
‘And listening?’ ‘Listening of cavernous proportions—we shall hang on every word as God on Pope’s prayers.’
‘And fuckery? Will there be fuckery, Pocket?’
‘Heinous fuckery most foul, lad. Heinous fuckery most foul.’
‘Aye, that’s the dog’s bollocks, then!’ said Drool, slapping his thigh. ‘Did you hear, Mary? Heinous fuckery afoot. Ain’t that the dog’s bollocks?’ ‘Oh yeah, the dog’s bloody B. it is, love….’
Yes, the foulest of fuckery is afoot from the first. Fuckery most foul…and fuckery most fun.

With plenty of perfectly pronounced "fucking French" as well.


The wonderfully, brilliant idea behind this huge hunk of happy is as follows:

The Bard’s story of King Lear told from the viewpoint of Lear’s Fool (given the sobriquet of Pocket) depicted here in the storm scene from Act III of the famous tale:

That mostly could suffice as description, but the true genius of what Moore has done is to keep the basic events of the tragedy in tact while completely remodeling the tone of the story into a filthy, hysterical fun-fest by having the smart, razor-witted Pocket act as our eyes and ears throughout the narrative.

All the players are there and the timeline remains mostly in step with the classic, but the delivery is anything but traditional, as when Pocket heckles Edmund, the Bastard son of the Earl of Gloucester, upon his arrival:
‘Hail, Edmund, you bloody bastard!’ I called over the wall. The yeoman tapped me on the shoulder. ‘Beggin’ your pardon, sirrah, but I’m told that Edmund is sensitive about his bastardy.’ ‘Aye, yeoman,’ said I. ‘No need for prodding and jibe to divine that prick’s tender spot, he wears it on his sleeve.’ I jumped on the wall and waved Jones at the bastard, who was trying to wrench a bow and quiver from a knight who rode beside him. ‘You whoreson scalawag!’ said I. ‘You flesh-turd dropped stinking from the poxy arsehole of a hare-lipped harlot!’
The quality and ferocity of insults dispensed by Pocket is extraordinary and would have Don Rickels squirmy and red with blush.

Me, it had laughing until tears actually began skiing down my cheeks.

Now despite following the major plot thread of the source material, those familiar with King Lear should not expect anything more than passing homage to the actual language of the original. This story is Moore’s homage to British Comedy and is one giant anachronism when it comes to prose. The writing contains far more of the likes of Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, P.G. Wodehouse and Douglas Adams than of Shakespeare. And all due and gracious respect to the Bard, I am just ducky with that because I was braying my bollocks off from the beginning.

Pocket is aided in his outlandish chicanery (aka the aforementioned fuckery) by a fellow fool-in-training, the slow-witted giant named Drool who got his name, “because of his torrential dribbling and the ability to break wind that could darken a room.” Drool, in addition to the enlargements referenced below, is also a perfect mimic who “can recall whole conversations, hours long, recite them back to you in the original speakers’ voices, and not comprehend a single word.” Once this rare talent was discovered, Pocket took him in to teach him the “manly art of mirth.”


Being a big fan of British comedy, I was struck by how inclusive Moore was in including such a varied range of styles in the humor represented. I knew I was in for a treat from the opening paragraph which read like pure classic Python:
The stage is a more or less mythical thirteenth-century Britain, with vestiges of British culture reaching back to pre-Roman times still loitering about. Britain encompasses what is now modern Great Britain, including England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, of which Lear is king. Generally, if not otherwise explained, conditions may be considered damp.
The comedy is sometimes zany and sometimes piercingly insightful. It is part clever word play and part in your face offensiveness. It is at times erudite and clever and other times (aka mostly) bawdy and blue as a sailor’s bachelor party. To wit:
‘You rascal, Pocket, I’ll not be buggered by you.’ I smacked his bottom again, dust rose from his trousers. ‘No, no, no, not me. Not my cup of tea. But Drool, now he’d shag the night if he wasn’t afraid of the dark. And hung like an ox, that one is. I suspect you’ll extrude stools untapered for a fortnight once Drool’s laid the bugger to ya. Supper’ll dump through you like a cherry pit out a church bell.’
What it almost always is is entertaining and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Coming into this I was a fan of Christopher Moore and I think this is his best work. His earlier Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal still holds a special place for me because I found the balance of wit and respect that Moore showed for his subject matter to be nothing short of magical.

However, I had more fun with this one and so it wins by a smile.

Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,295 reviews120k followers
March 3, 2022
Christopher Moore - image from Lit reactor

Pocket is a diminutive Jester in the court of King Lear. Hijinks ensue. In this darkly comedic retelling, Moore has some fun with Willy the Shake and walks us through a maze of betrayal and downright cussedness in the Britain of a (thankfully) long-gone age. There are times when it is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly if (like me) you tend to guffaw at humor of a low sort. But while I am a fan of Moore, and have enjoyed A Dirty Job, You Suck and Lamb, I found that this one wanting. It was funny, but—and maybe I am missing something here—just not funny enough.

Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,533 followers
March 4, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

“We are all Fate’s bastards.”

Palm Springs commercial photography

In what may be the longest synopsis in the history of the universe, Moore does a great job explaining that his book is actually a retelling of King Lear. The differences in the modern version? Fool is told from Pocket the Fool’s perspective and the tale is presented as a comedy rather than a tragedy. Things that remain the same? The cast of characters (Lear and his three daughters with a bevy of supporting cast members along for the ride) as well the distribution of Lear’s wealth to the daughters . . .

Soon followed by the realization that said division was premature as well as seriously stupid. Like Lear, Fool is a story filled with “heinous fuckery most foul” and there is a raven and a ghost because “there’s always a bloody ghost” and “there’s always a bloody raven.”

Basically, if something like this . . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

or characters like this . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

are your idea of a good time, Fool is a story not to be missed.

So there you have it. Now for a public service announcement . . .

Here ye here ye here ye. All ye members of thy generation oft known as butthurt. Refrain from reading the works of one Christopher Moore as he is sure to offend and doth giveth zeros of the shits about said offenses. As Mr. Moore would sayeth to thee . . .

“It’s a jest, you wanker. Suspend fucking disbelief for a bit, would you?”

Palm Springs commercial photography

This selection was chosen as part of the library’s Winter Reading Challenge. Many thanks to the book fairy who provided me a copy since the “you are next in line for this title” library list apparently meant in line FOR ETERNITY. Only THREE more books and the limited edition beer mug will be MIIIIIIIIIIINE!

Palm Springs commercial photography
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews315 followers
May 25, 2011
It's really hard to describe a Christopher Moore book to anyone who has never read one. Or to anyone without a sense of humor. Or to a Republican. Mainly because when Moore says that "This is a bawdy tale," he certainly isn't lying. Couple that with his completely absurd sense of humor and you're guaranteed a read that will certainly never bore. This is delightfully raunchy stuff; gleefully vulgar; immensely readable. However, there's more to a Moore novel than just the humor. Moore's take on Shakespeare and King Lear pays homage to the Bard's own randy sense of comedy as he retells the tragedy through the eyes of Pocket, fool to King Lear, shagger of his daughters, and instigator of wars. This may be my favorite Moore so far.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
July 29, 2019
“This was a bawdy tale!”

Thus begins Fool by Christopher Moore, a parody of King Lear by William Shakespeare but also really a comic tribute to all of The Bard’s work. Besides Lear, I recognized several other direct or indirect references and Moore himself, in an epilogical aside said he had blended over a dozen plays into the narrative.

Unique amongst Moore’s work, it does not operate in his connected universe of Hawaii, Pine Cove and San Francisco (as of the publication date). Irreverent, profane and vulgar, it is the kind of fun Moore fans have come to expect.

Though not a member of his larger pantheon of demons, vampires and sea monsters, Moore’s loving attack on Stratford on Avon is still a must read for his fans and maybe even Shakespeare fans who are none too uptight and with a sense of humor.

Profile Image for Michael.
1,215 reviews114 followers
March 16, 2009
Christopher Moore's re-telling of Shakespeare's tragedy of King Lear has great comic potential. It's just too bad that this novel doesn't come close to its potential.

Told from the point of view of Lear's court jester, there are some genuinely amusing moments in this book. However, as I read the book, I kept thinking this was like a Saturday Night Live skit that had been stretched beyond its initial humorous value and just kept going and going and going.

Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
October 11, 2010
Nothing like a good Moore-gasm to end the evening.

Fool is a comic retelling of King Lear from the fool's point of view. Pocket, the fool, is lechererous, duplicitous, and all round magnificent. He engineers the downfall of Lear's kingdom by pitting the king's daughters against each other, along with other nobles and their bastards.

There are references to Shakespeare, as well as a vanished race called the Mericans, ruled by the mad King George. For me, the biggest laughs came from the faux English place names, like Dog Snogging. There were a few laugh out loud moments, which was embarassing for me since I was allegedly working at the time I was reading it. "Sounds like a moose trying to shit a family of hedgehogs." See? Hard not to laugh at that, isn't it?

I'd rate fool in between Fluke and A Dirty Job in terms of hilarity, with the caveat that you'll probably enjoy it more if you're familiar with Shakespeare's plays.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,817 followers
October 23, 2016
Moore's retelling of King Lear from the viewpoint of the Fool. Full of crass, tongue-in-check innuendo and clever wordplay - just like the real Shakespeare!

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as The Serpent of Venice. That might be because I read Fool first and I was used to the writing by the time I got to Serpent.

If you enjoy Shakespeare, satire, and/or crass humor - don't miss this one!
Profile Image for Alex.
1,418 reviews4,381 followers
January 2, 2015
Hilarious! ...if you're really into gay jokes. If you're not a frat boy, on the other hand, this really has nothing for you.

The idea is an exploration of King Lear through the eyes of the Fool, imagining him as the hero of the story. That's a perfectly good idea, but Moore does a dreadful job. Jane Smiley's Thousand Acres is a smart, insightful retelling of Lear from the point of view of his daughters; Fool is a bullshit Dungeons & Dragons-y retelling where the Fool comes with awesome throwing daggers and dick jokes.

Listen, if you think it would be funny if someone announced that they'd said "Merci" in "perfect fucking French," then you will laugh like 30 times while reading this book, because boy does he make that joke a lot. And again, if you think jokes about buggery and poofters are funny, then this is the book for you. But - look, I don't like to get all classier-than-thou with books. It makes me feel like an asshole. But this is low-class shit, man. It's sophomoric. It's awful.
Profile Image for Chloe.
349 reviews539 followers
February 23, 2009
It is little secret that I think that Christopher Moore is one of the funniest writers currently putting ink to page. Whether he's writing about playing stone the adulteress with Jesus, talking fruit bats or a schizophrenic former B-movie star who still believes that she's a warrior babe of the outlands, Moore almost never fails to leave you panting on the floor with tears in your eyes and lungs aching for air. Needless to say, I was all up ons Fool when I first heard of it.

A humorous take on Shakespeare's King Lear told from the perspective of the royal jester, a fool named Pocket. Moore gets to wield his wit against such worthy targets as the British, the French, Royals, Shakespeare, redheads, scullery maids, British cuisine, witches, the hopelessly mad and, of course, the epically tragic Lear himself. Hell, one could roast Lear for hours and still have enough material left over for a follow-up. He's always been my least favorite of Shakespeare's protagonists and I loved reading Moore take him down a notch or two.

If anything though, the book hewed too closely to the source material which only rarely allowed Moore to let loose with his trademark hilarity. The tongue-in-cheek takes on death and mortality that made A Dirty Job such a great read are missing here. Pocket tries to lighten the mood but when you are competing against the heinous fuckery of Lear's daughters you can't help but get dragged into dark waters. Still, it's a deliciously fun read that I'm sure I'll return to. Those looking to read Moore for the first time would be better off with Lamb or A Dirty Job.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews393 followers
August 4, 2017
Shakespearean wankfest making a mockery of King Lear in the most entertaining and loving way. Bonk...BONK.

Perfect black comedy that made me laugh out loud. Pocket is my hero.

"I need to be spanked."
"A constant, I'd agree, lady, but again we're declaring the sky blue, aren't we?"
"I want to be spanked."

Profile Image for Mara.
400 reviews280 followers
April 19, 2014
I'm gonna go ahead and co-opt a term Dan used in his review of this bawdy book, and call it simply Moore-gasmic.

Fuckstockings! is just one of the many expletives and/or insults that spew forth from the mouth of King Lear's fool, Pocket, that I'm hoping to sneak into my everyday vocabulary. Twatgoblin and chunder-monkey (used to refer to the King's bulimic royal taster) will definitely be making appearances as well. I'm not sure how much use I'll have for boffnacity, but I'll give you Pocket's helpful footnote just in case.
Boffnacity—an expression of shagnatiousness, fit. From the Latin boffusnatious.

Between Pocket's repertoire for off-color songs (including the "solemn ballad, Dragon Spooge Befouled My Bonny Bonny Lass” and the upbeat shanty, “Alehouse Lilly - She’ll Bonk You Silly") and his use of his puppet (and sometimes weapon), Jones, I couldn't help but be reminded of Gob and Franklin (and, obviously, Buster's Franklin highjacking as well).

Buster and Franklin 400

Christopher Moore's humor is of a specific breed that can't quite be described, but that leaves me literally (I'm using the term correctly) LOLing. I didn't enjoy this one quite so much as I did Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (one of my favorite books of all time), but that's likely due to my unfamiliarity with King Lear.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,027 followers
January 15, 2018
This was great even though it's been too long since I read King Lear & only have the vaguest recollections of the original. It didn't matter. Actually, it might have been a plus since I had no real expectations of where Moore was going with this. Sometimes I wondered if he knew, but it turned out he did & he eventually got there, not without a lot of shagging, death, & horribly funny situations, though.

There was horror, but there was more fun & sex and a lot of funny sex. I can still see Pocket embracing the wall when the Bishop walked in. It's a good thing I was alone while I listened to this as I'm sure I was cackling out loud like a demented crone. They were in the story, too. Three of them, first met in Birnam Wood.

Oh, you thought this was just a retelling of King Lear? No, it's mostly that, sort of, but Moore tossed in whatever seemed to work at the time, including the fucking French. Nothing is said in French or about the French, it's always the 'fucking French'. Does that offend you? Do poofters, carpet munchers, twats, discount Popes, manly nuns, & spunk monkeys? If so, don't read this. Even the place names are hilarious, such as Dog Snogging. As one of my friends wrote in his review, "...it's mind bogglingly vulgar at times." Quite often, in fact.

This was REALLY good as an audio book narrated by Euan Morton. His voices, tones, & accents were superb & added a lot to the story. Shakespeare's barbs, jests, & curses rolled trippingly off his tongue no matter which character delivered them, but The Fool was always the best. While there were a lot of great characters, he was fantastic.

My edition had an excellent afterword by the author. I pity him for his research, but thank him very much for the final project. Highly recommended. While I've enjoyed a couple of other books by him, none of the struck me quite so well or repeatedly in the funny bone.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
May 1, 2011
Okay I laughed out loud numerous times reading this book. Bawdy, witty, a mishmash of various Shakespearean plays. Packet, the fool, is the main character and he rains barbed insults down on everybody from King Lear to the laundress (with spectacular breasts). This dangerous need to express himself leads to the daily threat, sometimes several times a day, of being hung (once even threatened with being hung twice) or run through with something sharp and deadly. I used this book as my "just before bed" reading. There is nothing like a shameful chuckle at the end of the day to cast aside the cares of the world. I read a good bit of the book to my wife. The need to share the best parts with someone is always the sign of a good book and in this case a very fun book.
Profile Image for Brian.
688 reviews335 followers
October 10, 2017
"Life is loneliness, broken only by the gods taunting us with friendship and the odd bonk."

Not since Shakespeare has Shakespeare been this clever. "Fool" is a retelling of Shakespeare's "King Lear" from the Fool's perspective. The fool in Shakespeare's text is an integral supporting character who utters most of the play's philosophical secrets. Moore picks up on that and expands it into the plot for this novel.
Although I have heard many people say (including Mr. Moore) that you don't need to be familiar with "King Lear" in order to appreciate this book, I am not sure I agree. The basis of the plot is that all of the intrigues that one reads and sees in the original play are actually the machinations of the fool, named Pocket in Moore's version, who is manipulating almost all of the novel's actions. This is a clever device, and well woven into the original story from the play. It is appreciated on a whole other level if one can actually recognize what Moore is doing. In order to get this, one must know Shakespeare's "King Lear".
One of the strengths and weakness of this text is its humor. It is clever, and mindbogglingly vulgar at times. That is a blessing and a curse. Too much of a good thing becomes an irritation, and after a while it takes away from the story and the characters themselves, turning them into caricatures. A little more restraint on Moore's part with the bawdy humor would have gone a long way.
One of the strengths of this text is the creation of Pocket. His is a wonderful voice to guide the reader and through his eyes most of the other characters come across as believable, despite some of their more outrageous characteristics. No easy feat, kudos to Moore.
This comic novel has some touching moments, and if you are familiar with British humor, you will enjoy the numerous nods Mr. Moore makes to a style of humor that he freely admits he loves. Also fun for those who are familiar with the Bard are the references to at least a dozen of his other works strewn throughout the text. The novel mimics and celebrates the anachronisms to be found in Shakespeare and also very cleverly utilizes the pagan and Christina references that are both in the original "King Lear"
I enjoyed this novel, but the ending is a letdown. Rather anti-climactic after the buildup that precedes it. Still, it is better than many other reading choices, and if it leads you to Shakespeare, then even better.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,812 followers
April 19, 2009
Moore takes the idea of re-telling King Lear from the Fool's perspective and makes a very funny hash of the whole thing. My second favorite Moore novel after Lamb now.
Profile Image for Leland.
6 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2009
OK so, I don't wright many reviews, but I had to for this one because it is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Even if you hate Shakespeare or can't stand the sound of iambic pentameter, this book will make you laugh. If it doesn't, well then at least you know that you don't have a good sense of humor... and that's a good thing to know.
Profile Image for Lance Greenfield.
Author 119 books234 followers
January 6, 2013
Yet another outrageously hilarious tome from the keyboard of Christopher Moore!

I know for a fact that not all of my friends and family will like Fool, but many will love it as much as I did, and many will be rolling around laughing, in fits of laughter, as I was.

The jester of the court of King Lear, known as Pocket, proceeds to orchestrate the history of England, Great Britain and most of Western Europe. There is very little authenticity, quite deliberately, and absolutely no respect for either royalty or aristocracy.

I particularly liked the pseudo glossary, which you really must refer to as you hit the reference marks on your journey through the book. Examples include:

Tosser - one who tosses, a wanker.

The dog's bollocks! - Excellent! The bee's knees! The cat's pj's. Literally, the dog's balls, which doesn't seem to be a great thing, yet, there you are.
Now, this truly is authentic English usage!

Balls up - Slang, to ruin, to fuck up, also "bollocks up" and "cock up."
I was actually surprised that Moore didn't use this opportunity to transfer the legendary cock up of King Alfred's burning of the cakes to King Lear!

The author's notes at the end should not be over-skipped. They are well wort reading. Christopher Moore must be delighted that the London 2012 Olympics were centred on Stratford. The only pity is that the IOC omitted the one sport that Moore recommended. You'll see what I mean!

My final thought on Fool is that I couldn't help noticing a similarity between the opening lines of this book and those of Puckoon. Here we have "Tosser!" said the Raven, there we have "Caw" said the crow. Both books made me laugh in equal measure.

PS. If historical inaccuracies irritate you, you'll be scratching like you've got fleas!
Profile Image for Leo.
4,300 reviews384 followers
August 7, 2021
I do enjoy a Shakespeare retailing from time to time and this one didn't disappoint. A bit ridiculous and a bit of fun. Have tried or read some other books by Christopher Moore before but haven't enjoyed the humour, but this one worked well for me and I'm in the mood to try to read more. Not sure if I have read a full book of his before. Maybe I have and there is a 4 stars book hiding somewhere in my reviews that I forgot. I don't know if it's necessary to know a bit of Shakespeares plays and such to enjoy it but I don't think it's hurt to know a bit.
Profile Image for Sarah.
600 reviews14 followers
May 9, 2010
Ah, Christopher Moore rewrites King Lear (and steals from host of other Shakespeare's works in the process) and presents a delightful, bawdy comedic romp through soggy Britain.

Fool tells the tale of Pocket, King Lear's favorite Fool, and the events that unfold as King Lear is driven into madness and destruction, and the kingdom is divided amidst treachery, scheming, princesses, fuckery, washerwomen names Bubble and Squeak, and a bloody ghost (there is always a bloody ghost, of course). And lovely Pocket is right in the middle of it all with his jangling bells and handy little stick.

And there are three witches with a boiling cauldron, too.

It will keep you laughing out loud and learning all sorts interesting new definitions to the English language.

I do believe Fuckstockings is my favorite new swearword.

Profile Image for Lori.
1,451 reviews55.8k followers
April 2, 2009
A shaggalious good time!

Christopher Moore nails it again with his twisted take on King Lear from the point of view of the Fool. Pocket, a sarcastic, manipulating, horny little court jester, takes us for a wild ride of shagging, fighting, shagging, warring, shagging, murdering, shagging.... you get the point.

Oh, and there's a ghost.
There's always a bloody ghost!

I have not read the original, (gasp), but I don't feel it's necessary. Moore takes court jestering and kings and loyality to a whole new level!!
Profile Image for Kevin McAllister.
548 reviews26 followers
December 31, 2008
Fool is Christopher Moore's comic retelling of the Shakespeare tragedy King Lear. Not to mention numerous references to other Shakesperean plays. You've got your witches, your ghost, your regacide... But, in my mind, Moore displays his own comic genius best when he combines Shakespeare with Dr. Seuss and gives us a ditty called Green Eggs And Hamlet
Green eggs or not green eggs ?
Whether' tis nobler in the mind to eat them in a box with a fox--
Profile Image for Ярослава Литвин.
Author 6 books58 followers
December 1, 2021
Смілива книжка з чорним гумором, така, щоб одночасно і трохи невдобно, і регочеш як підліток. І, як не дивно, зацікавлює класикою, після неї хочеться почитати Шекспіра. Окрема подяка перекладачці, її робота майстерна і дотепна.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,160 reviews387 followers
June 21, 2009
Rating: 3+ stars

WARNING: 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 sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story!

I first met (figuratively speaking) Christopher Moore when I picked up a used copy of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. It was cheap and I've always had a weakness for subversive reimaginings of Jesus that would have gotten authors and readers burned at the stake in bygone eras. I was pleasantly rewarded - Moore is a genuinely funny writer who believably incorporates a serious undertone in his prose. (An undertone that can surface in surprising and gruesomely violent ways - I'm remembering the slaughter of the women in the monastery from Lamb and the natal story of the Fool in this book or the fate of the Anchoress.)

Despite that, I don't think the book is more than a pleasant diversion. It's neither profound nor tragical enough to take a place among the greatest comedies but it is fun (and quick) to read, with delightful (perversely so) characters and witty dialog, and it does at least touch upon the themes of the original. I don't believe I'll ever be able to watch or read King Lear in quite the same way ever again.

If you're already a Moore fan, I think Fool will delight you; if you're also a fan of Shakespeare, you'll be doubly delighted. (Unless you're a fanatic Bardolator - in which case, you'll loath it since, as with all fanatics, you have no sense of humor.) Speaking of humor, since it is such an idiosyncratic beast, I hesitate to recommend the book to anyone not already familiar with the author. Yet, if you should happen to see it on a library shelf or in the bargain-books bin, someone gifts you, give it a try.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
350 reviews9 followers
October 20, 2010
"Fool" was absolutely hysterical, so many laugh out loud moments, my family kept asking what was so funny. I found myself laughing and shouting out lines to the family, it was so funny!

"Fool" is a retelling of Shakespeare's "King Lear" but told from the point of view of Lear's fool, Pocket. You don't really need more than a basic understanding of "King Lear" before starting this so don't let that stop you from picking this one up.

The story of the orphan Pocket's rearing in the nunnery by Mother "Basil" and his fellow nuns, Pocket's initiation into all things carnal by the anchoress of the abbey set the tone for things to come. His lewd and lascivious behavior toward the kings's elder daughters, Goneril and Regan was juxtaposed against his tender and truly loving feelings toward Lear's youngest, Cordelia, who was banished to fucking France where she married Queen Jeff. Goneril and Regan are heinous, truly awful. I thoroughly enjoyed the trick that Pocket played on them. They got what they deserved!

I also was touched by Pocket's relationship with his apprentice, the Natural fool, Drool. Drool was the ultimate lovable idiot and wily Pocket did his best to take care of him. Pocket's deference to the king was also touching, even after he learned of Lear's treachery and the great wrong he had committed against Pocket.

I don't what else to say about this other than I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Shakespeare, bawdy humor or "heinous fuckery most foul"!
Profile Image for Peter Tillman.
3,627 reviews325 followers
July 17, 2021
Yet Another demonstration that humor is totally unpredictable. This one, I struggled to find anything to like. And I was definitely in the mood for a funny book. I wouldn't say it was horrible (though not far off), and I certainly wasn't offended by the naughty bits (in all senses). But almost nothing I tried worked for me, and I gave up early on. Moore is a hit-or-miss writer for me. OK, it WAS horrible. Not for me!
Profile Image for Kirk.
46 reviews
January 7, 2009
I know 3 stars!?!?! (note I originally gave this 3 stars, see below for more information) I think I mainly gave this book 3 stars cause I really didn't get into it. My normal Christopher Moore reading experience is usually like this...open book, start reading, laugh, finish book...usually its a 1 sitting read for me. This one took me 3 days...I'm not sure if it was the subject matter - "retelling" of Willy Shakes' King Lear or what...don't get me wrong it had some great laugh out loud moments...I guess I was just wanting moore (bad pun intended)and it could be that I have high expectations on his writing...I don't know - maybe 3 stars was a bit harsh, it was an bawdy entertaining tale and I did enjoy reading it...maybe I'll change it to 4 stars...ok I did...bonus story, at work someone asked a question on King Lear - what are his daughters names, and thanks to this book I was able to answer and looked a lot smarter then I am...so all in all if you are a fan of C Moore I would recommend this, if its your first C. Moore book - go with Dirty Job or Lamb instead.
Profile Image for Robert.
Author 2 books8 followers
September 20, 2008
This is easily Moore's second best book. I will be hard pressed to list anything above Lamb, ever. The warning on the cover serves perfect justice as it announces This is a Bawdy tale... I didn't chuckle. I didn't giggle. I didn't laugh. I barked. I laughed so often, so loudly, and so suddenly, it was as though I was barking. I read it in one night and am already craving the next Christopher Moore book. Thanks Christopher!!
Profile Image for Terry.
297 reviews66 followers
September 13, 2021
This was a Did Not Finish for me. I just couldn’t get into it, and I generally like Christopher Moore’s books.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,920 reviews1,256 followers
June 16, 2016
I had to add a new shelf for this book: "deliciously quotable." That admirably summarizes Fool, a bawdy comedic interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear. Not for the faint of heart, Fool puts the reader through a whirlwind tour of Shakespearean clichés mixed with a healthy dose of anachronisms and sexual innuendo.

I love any sort of irreverent Shakespearean fun. It's all well and good to call the Bard one of the greatest writers of the English language, but I've never agreed with scholars who treat Shakespeare's writing as sacred. After all, I'm sure good ol' Will wasn't looking to become the most lauded British playwright--he just wanted to make some money and have a good time. And we all know that Shakespeare, although a master wordsmith, was far from original--almost all of his plays are based on earlier works anyway. So it's more homage than heresy to reinterpret the Bard's own work.

King Lear is my favourite of Shakespeare's plays; however, even if it isn't your favourite, or even if you've never read it, you'll still enjoy Fool (just maybe not as much as I did). Christopher Moore draws on inspiration and quotations from several of Shakespeare's plays "largely to throw off reviewers, who will be reluctant to cite and criticize passages of my writing, lest they were penned by the Bard hisownself." It's King Lear sprinkled with Macbeth and Hamlet and a happy ending. I'm not suggesting that a happy ending is better for King Lear—I'm looking at you, Nathan Tate—but it's better for the King Lear reimagining that is Fool.

Take Fool with a grain of salt and suspend your disbelief and you'll be rewarded with a funny and entertaining story. I laughed out loud at several parts of the book, something I very rarely do, and was ready to grant the book five stars when I was less than halfway through (contingent on the book remaining awesome, which it did). Not only is Fool fun and easy to read, but it makes Shakespeare accessible to people who might otherwise never find time for the Bard—I'm looking at you, vapid Twilight-enslaved teenage populace. Fool isn't a replacement for King Lear, and maybe I'm just being too idealistic here, but I hope it'll stir up more interest in Shakespeare, who could be every bit as bawdy as Christopher Moore.

Yes, I loved hearing Regan described as "sadistic (but erotic-fantasy-grade-hot)" and several independent discussions of her "shaggacity." My taste in comedy runs more toward the cerebral, so I hope my enjoyment of Moore's wordplay is all the more convincing a testimonial. It's simply brilliant: "We've been rehearsing a classic from antiquity, Green Eggs and Hamlet, the story of a young prince of Denmark who goes mad, drowns his girlfriend, and in his remorse, forces spoiled breakfast on all whom he meets." As that quotation indicates, Moore peppers Fool with anachronisms. He doesn't go out of his way to describe the mythical medieval Britain he's conjured into existence; Fool is very light on description and heavy on dialogue. Moore sets the stage prior to the beginning of the book: "generally, if not otherwise explained, conditions may be considered damp" and then rarely goes on to describe the environment except when required by the plot. And I don't mind the scant description; it fits the quick-paced, witty tone of Pocket's narration and his banter with enemies and allies alike.

In keeping with the wit and dialogue, another reason Fool appealed so much to me is that it's very meta. The characters occasionally break the fourth wall—usually when Pocket criticizes their behaviour as a stock character:

"So," said Oswald, "you lived through the night?"

"Of course, why wouldn't I?" I asked.

"Well, because I told Cornwall of your rendezvous with Regan and I expected him to slay you."

"Oh, for fuck's sake, Oswald, show a little guile, would you? The state of villainy in this castle is rubbish, what with Edmund being pleasant and you being straightforward. What's next, Cornwall starts feeding orphans while bloody bluebirds fly out of his bum? Now, let's try it again, see if you can at least keep up the pretense of evil. Go."

"So, you lived through the night?" said Oswald.

"Of course, why wouldn't I?" I asked.

This sort of meta-repartee can only work in a certain type of book—it would be out of place in a deeply serious piece of literature, for instance, but is fine for something like Fool or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Moore goes further and interposes a page-length "intermission" scene consisting of fourth-wall-breaking dialogue between Pocket and Edmund at the end of Act IV:

"Bloody ghost is foreshadowing, innit?"

"But all the gratuitous shagging and tossing?"

"Brilliant misdirection."

"You're having me on."

"Sorry, no, it's pikeman's surprise for you in the next scene."

"I'm slain then?"

"To the great satisfaction of the audience."

"Oh bugger!"

Lest you think Fool is only vapid innuendo, I'd argue that there is a more profound level to this novel. Although it transforms King Lear from tragedy to black comedy, in the course of doing so it makes some very touching observations (this was particularly the case with Pocket's recount of his relationship with the anchoress). My favourite, hands down, is this dialogue between the banished Kent and Pocket:

"I'm beginning to wonder," said Kent, sitting down now on an overturned wooden tub. "Who do I serve? Why am I here?"

"You are here, because, in the expanding ethical ambiguity of our situation, you are steadfast in your righteousness. It is to you, our banished friend, that we all turn—a light amid the dark dealings of family and politics. You are the moral backbone on which the rest of us hang our bloody bits. Without you we are merely wiggly masses of desire writhing in our own devious bile."

"Really?" asked the old knight.

"Aye," said I.

"I'm not sure I want to keep company with you lot, then."

Not only is this funny, but it actually provides a great look at the character of Kent from the original King Lear. The most anomalous aspect of the original play is the fact that Lear's kind of a jerk, so it's curious that Kent stays loyal to him even after banishment. Here Pocket attempts to give an answer to that question, with his usual graphically disturbing diction. The characters in Fool are slightly thinner than cardboard, with very little development. Yet it's easy to forget that most of Shakespeare's characters are like that too. Fool is, at some level, an allegory with a paper-thin cast.

Fool is my first, but definitely not my last, Christopher Moore book. Friends of mine who like Moore, and many of the reviewers on this site, seem to concur that Fool is not one of his best novels. If that's the case, then I'm in for a treat; since I loved Fool, I can't wait to get my hands on Moore novels that don't suck!

There's a certain subset of people who will pan this book because their sense of humour isn't compatible with it—they'll find it childish, or perhaps even repugnant. I respect their differing opinion, but if you don't share that opinion, then you must read this book. It is awesome.
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