I have only read one Christopher Moore book previous to this one and that was “The Stupidest Angel”. While I enjoyed that book, it didn’t make me a huge Moore fan…I thought a lot of it was kind of silly. When I heard that Moore was tackling the tale of King Lear and telling it from a fool’s perspective; well that got my attention. I actually listened to this on audio book and the audio book production was extremely well done and probably contributed to how much I loved this book.
So you know the tale of King Lear…well if you don’t look it up on wikipedia really quick and read a synopsis…this is a re-telling of that story. There are many exceptions, for example the witches from MacBeth are in here too, the timeline the story takes place in is questionable, and the Fool is the main character (he doesn’t play that huge of a part in the original). The story is told from the viewpoint of the Black Fool. You have all your King Lear characters plus others, including the Fool’s idiot apprentice Drool. There is much murder, foullanguage , and shagging…I mean a ton of it really; really the story is mostly shagging and murder and swearing….still it ends up being a really good story.
If you like Monty Python, or any type of inaccurate crude medieval humor this book is for you. In fact if you get your kicks out of watching British comedy in general; this is the book for you. That is as long as you have a strongstomach for foul language and shagging. I could not believe how much swearing and shagging are in this book…okay well I think I have driven that point home enough. In short this book was a riot, and I mean that in the modern positive sense of the word.
Moore whisks us through the antics of King Lear in a way that is entertaining, hilarious, intelligent, and somehow even a bit heartwarming. The characters are wonderful. The Fool is an amazing character, despite (or maybe because of) all of his antics he is am easy character to love. Lear’s daughters are also entertaining, as is Lear himself. I was really impressed with how this book mishmashed so many things together to come up with a darkly humorous story that is actually somewhat touching.
King Lear purists should look away. Moore himself talks about the inaccuracies and liberties he takes with Lear’s story in an excerpt at the end of the book; it was interesting to read how Moore prepared for this book and how he choose time settings, etc. Anyone who gets uncomfortable hearing the term “Shagging” in the context of a Shakespearean play may also want to steer clear of this one.
This book is one that will have me picking up more of Moore’s books. Hilarious, intelligently witty, and a great all around story this was an excellent read that had me laughing out loud in pure joy, dark humor, and irony.