Christopher Moore
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Buy *Fool* by Christopher Moore online

Christopher Moore
William Morrow
352 pages
February 2010
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Christopher Moore, an author who usually writes about demons and ghosts and monsters and vampires and does it just about better than anybody, has decided that's no longer a fulfilling thing for him. Instead of making some parallel crossover to science fiction or Dungeons and Dragons, he has made a huge leap and ended up in the middle of a William Shakespeare-influenced tale. In his latest, Fool, he interprets King Lear. While the subject may fascinate him, it's not nearly as engaging to those of us who have to read it.

In An Author's Note, the closing chapter, he tells the reader why he's decided to to his take on Shakespeare. He notes, "I didn't begin Fool as a tribute to Shakespeare; I wrote it because of my great admiration for British comedy." Fine. But who cares?

And that's the point - just because Moore is transfixed with British humor doesn't mean any of his readers are. Yes, Moore is funny and witty, but this tale is as convoluted as the original, and it's impossible to remember who's killing whom without a scorecard (mercifully, the author provides a list of characters). This just isn't funny enough to keep you engaged.

Every writer - almost - at one time or another feels he has to take off on a tangent from the subjects that have brought him fame. Ray Bradbury did it by abandoning his science fiction genre to write about (inexplicably) homosexual encounters; T.C. Boyle stopped writing his wonderful fiction to take on real-life characters and create stories around them - none of which were ever as amusing and creative as his works of fiction. And the list goes on.

Moore is not out of his league here. Apparently he spent two years researching this one, but it's a far cry from the joy and hilarity of his earlier works (Lamb, specifically). You can only hope that on his next literary outing he returns to the strange worlds he's previously created. You'd have to be a complete, well, idiot, to read this one.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2009

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