The Serpent of Venice: A Novel

by Christopher Moore | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0061779768 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 6/11/2015
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, June 11, 2015
I came across this good-condition softcover ARC at the ongoing book-sale in the Wadleigh library in Milford NH, and nabbed it for another release copy.

I've enjoyed many of Moore's offbeat-humor novels, including Fool, his spin on "King Lear". This book's a sequel in which Pocket, the title character from Fool, gets involved with more characters from various Shakespeare plays (including, of course Merchant of Venice, but blending others in as well, not to mention some Poe!).

It's a very entertaining story, even if it did cast one or two of my favorite Shakespearian characters as rather nasty criminals - but it was woven into the story quite well, and I appreciated the many shoutouts and crossovers. Among others: the story opens with "Fortunato" - a local nickname for our fool, Pocket - being walled up alive by Montressor and cronies Antonio and Iago. (Pocket survives the experience via an intriguing new acquaintance who seems very much attracted to our lewd, crude hero; this is an advantage for Pocket, and a cause of quick, messy death for quite a few of his enemies throughout the story!)

The book ties Merchant of Venice to Othello by making Portia and Desdemona sisters, daughters of "Montressor". Most of the expected subplots of those plays are here as well, though often tweaked, interrelated, and occasionally rewritten completely - especially Portia's "choose the chests" bit. Some characters have their fates improved by this book while others fare a good deal worse; I won't say who gets what as that's part of the fun, especially at the climax of the book.

Running gags include the Chorus, who makes comments here and there about what's happening - and occasionally gets yelled at by characters who can apparently hear him: "No one likes you, you know? Skulking about in the margins acting as if you know everything." Then there's the amusing way the author manages to construct a back story for the character "Lancelot Gobbo". And there's a surprise appearance by Marco Polo - along with references to how weary he gets of people using his name in that "where are you" game...

While Pocket spends much of the book seeking vengeance against the trio who tried to kill him, he manages to make some friends as well, including Shylock's daughter Jessica - who, it seems, has a fascination with pirates (her last line is "Arrrrr" {grin}). And he has some poignant dream-talks with his lost love Cordelia, whose fate has a lot to do with the course of events in this book.

The author provides an afterword to explain some of his inspirations, as well as the historical events and personages with whom he made free in the story. His discussion on how he wove the two plays together was quite interesting.

[This TV Tropes page on Moore and his works has some entertaining elements, but do beware of spoilers if you haven't read the books yet.]

Released 4 yrs ago (7/25/2015 UTC) at Amherst St./101A (see text for details) in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I plan to leave this book near or inside one of the shops at 427 Amherst St. at around 5; hope the finder enjoys it!

*** Released for the 2015 Allergic to A challenge. ***

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