The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of Fool, By Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore and Shakespeare — does it get any better than this? Maybe, but not by much.

Moore is one of my favorite humorists, but in this book he is also delightfully inventive, retelling Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear, from the point of view of the Fool. Those who are familiar with the play might recall that after the storm scene, Shakespeare’s Fool vanishes. In Moore’s book, there are about 100 pages to go at that point. And with the Fool (aka Pocket) as narrator, Moore sets quite a task for himself. Happily, he is equal to that task.

As Lear does, Pocket favors Cordelia most of the three sisters. And he’s had his “moments” with Regan and Goneril, although in general he would be happy living without them. Unlike the befuddled Lear, he sees the machinations of the various players and has a very different view on who is and isn’t trustworthy. And so he uses his access and the fact that he’s ignored and under-estimated to manipulate the proceedings, right down to the very end.

He has help from a ghost, by the way. There’s always a ghost.

And while Moore generally sticks to the storyline of King Lear, he also brings in Macbeth’s three witches. Why? Because he needs them. And it’s his book. Since, under the circumstances, he really does stick pretty closely to the original story, I’m inclined to let that go. Plus, Moore is going to do what he wants anyway and not worry about what the rest of us think. Poorly hidden under Moore’s bawdy sense of humor and occasional whimsy, his heroes and heroines always have a strong sense of justice and a need to follow it through. In addition, he’s not big on loose ends. That may have been part of what attracted him to the part of the missing Fool in King Lear.

So. I highly recommend this book. I think anyone interested in Shakespeare will enjoy it, and Christopher Moore is a delight to read under any circumstances.

As for animals, Moore describes the medieval life events, including some brief  and non-descriptive mentions of “dinner preparations” and hunts. Cats roam around, and Fool rescues a kitten for Cordelia. There are ravens flapping around being ominous. Really, there’s nothing that would upset anyone. So I’m going to declare this book SAFE for animal lovers. Enjoy!

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September 28, 2010 - Posted by | animals, beach book, Book Reviews, humor, satire, Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Recently discovered this author, and laughed myself into tears through the book “Lamb”. Thanks for the review on this one, too. 🙂

    Comment by KarenRambo | September 28, 2010 | Reply


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