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16 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, inspiring and daffy
I first read Foolscap in its hardcover release and was taken with its blend of wacky plot, warm-hearted character development and erudite but accessible literary and historical reference.
As the years have gone by, I find myself returning to the book when I need a good kick in the butt - it makes a marvelous case for taking chances and believing in yourself in order...
Published on October 2, 2002 by Kathy Napierala

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get it from the library....
This is the 5th Michael Malone book I have read - and, while o.k., it does not compare to Uncivil Seasons, Time's Witness, and The First Lady. I assume that if you are in academia, it have a bit more pull. This is one I would recommend you get from the library - it is not one I want in my personal collection - though I did purchase it because I was so impressed with the...
Published on March 13, 2006 by Connie


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, inspiring and daffy, October 2, 2002
By 
I first read Foolscap in its hardcover release and was taken with its blend of wacky plot, warm-hearted character development and erudite but accessible literary and historical reference.
As the years have gone by, I find myself returning to the book when I need a good kick in the butt - it makes a marvelous case for taking chances and believing in yourself in order to build a rich, satisfying life.
Also, Michael Malone has a talent for creating some of the most attractive male characters I've ever come across. Theo Ryan from this book and Cuddy and Justin from the Hillston series are great guys to spend some time with.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great academic satire, July 11, 2002
By A Customer
As a former academic, I loved this book! Malone does a great job revealing the lunacies which characterize modern academia. The professors at Cavendish University will be very familiar to anyone who has spent any time at all at an American university.

The story itself is also quite fun---even if you aren't a fan of Walter Raleigh (as Malone clearly is---this is not his first book to discuss Raleigh).
Malone has a great sense of humor and the book, which follows the exploits of Theo Ryan, mild-mannered professor turned literary forger, is the kind which makes you laugh out loud. Avoid reading this in public unless you are comfortable having people watch you suddenly burst into uncontrollable laughter.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational academic parody, August 24, 2000
This review is from: Foolscap: A Novel (Hardcover)
The world of academia has always taken itself very seriously, and so when a writer like Kingsley Amis, Jane Smiley, David Lodge, or Robert Grudin parodies this seriousness, it makes for wonderful reading. Malone's parody of a fictional North Carolina university extends the parody beyond the ivory tower and into the worlds of publishing and theater. It tells the story of biographer, playwright, literary forger Theo Ryan, a professor with a big heart and a sound mind who is a bit naive. It's his touch of innocence that makes his tale so charming as Ryan goes back and forth between England and the USA, trying to do well by all and finding himself in farcical situations, despite his good will. It's a sometimes dark, but ultimately cheering comedy where love wins out and the truth prevail!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable tale, October 25, 1999
This review is from: Foolscap: A Novel (Hardcover)
Having read many Malone books including the masterpiece Handling Sin, Foolscap comes close, it contains humour, pathos and literary info, I,m sure most Malone fans would like to read this, I had to wait 6 weeks before Amazon,bless them, tracked a copy down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GENEROUS, FUNNY AND WISE, April 28, 2009
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After reading seven of Michael Malone's novels in little over a year, and five in the past month and a half, I didn't think that anything he wrote could surprise me, other than that his books are all so good, but Foolscap is a surprise. It's not better than the best of his other novels (Handling Sin, Time's Witness, Dingley Falls) but it goes off in a different direction than any of them, it employs a different narrative strategy and thus sits at a different angle to literal reality. "

Facts are cattle," says Dame Winifred Throckmorton, a noted but slightly batty sir Walter Raleigh scholar. "Theory is a bird. One must leap, in order to soar." This lively comic novel about the forging of a last-minute play supposedly written by the Elizabethan Golden Man Raleigh definitely leaps and just as definitely soars. In capsule, the story is of a quiet, mildly depressed and definitely suppressed theatrical scholar, Theo Ryan, and his liberation through prolonged, always exhilarating and almost as often irritating contact with Ford Rexford, perhaps the greatest living writer of plays in the English language. My God, can Malone write -and plot! There are enough memorable characters and incidents in here for a half dozen books, but none better than the irrepressible Dame Winifred and the alcoholic Bad Boy Ford Rexford. ("It's like art, kid," the ghost of Rexford tells Theo, "It's like me. It doesn't have to be real. It just has to be true.") And there at least three or four lesser characters who are just as winning. This is a very generous book and n one benefits more than the reader fortunate enough to sit down with it and savor its pleasures. To top it off, there is an understated but quite wonderful love story in these pages, between Theo and the salty country western singer Rhodora Potts.

The book ends in lovely fantasia, Theo's thoughts as he waits for his now-wife Rhodora to go on stage at the Grand Old Opry: he sees all the actors and performers he's known in his life, including his mother (summer stock and musicals) and father (a lesser rock and roll idol, whose one hit, "Do the Duck," still sustains him decades later).

"Out from the wings, Theo saw his farther, Benny Ryan, slide tantalizingly onto stage with his arms outflung, offering himself, a dream come true. And the young girls shrieked like Maenads the incantation of his name.

"He saw his mother, Lorraine Page, beautiful young, and safe in the light, talking to darkness from a summer-stock stage.

"There in shadows in the wings, Theo saw his parents' friends: Sweets, the former child star, and Catherine, the former soaps star; all the former stars, now forgotten, and all the company of players who were never to be star, all of them banded together waiting to go act out life so that people seeing their show could learn -or remember--how life feels.

"The players bowed all together there in the shadows of the wings. Theo shouted and whistled as loudly as he could, and the heavy red swirls of curtain slowly closed between his wife, Rhodora, on stage, and the sharp echoing sound of strangers applauding out there in the dark.

Now that's an ending.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foolscap is a seriously funny madcap adventure., August 4, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Foolscap (Paperback)
Radical college campus protests. Musical theatre.
North Carolina. Fraudulent Elizabethan artifacts and a
mad chase across England. What do these things have to do
with one another? I'm not sure, but Malone manages to
weave them together in this hilarious tale of a college
professor drawn into a set of most complicated
circumstances. Malone's writing is superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and loving, March 1, 2012
By 
This is one of my favorite books. It's funny, a clever satire of the world of academia, but so much more. It's the story of an awakening- a late bloomer's coming-of-age story. Malone is generally note-perfect in his characterizations, and in Theo he has created a wonderful flesh and blood person. Other characters also shine, from the silly university figures to the richly imagined and unforgettable playwright who sparks Theo's transformation. Or perhaps I should say, the man who helps Theo light the fire he has always had within him. I think that Malone, like many male writers, is weaker in creating women characters, but he clearly loves women and Rhodora is a memorable creation. I can still picture specific moments from the book, like Theo stepping onto the stage to audition, like a certain boat scene, or like the dead-on faculty meeting that kicks off the book and will remind anyone of at least one meeting from hell. Overall, this is a book for anyone who wants to read several love stories at once- a love of words and theater, the love of parents whether biological or artistic, falling in real love for the first time, and the love the author has for the world and characters he creates. Don't be put off by the setting, the events that occur in England, or the reviews that don't seem to see beneath the surface of the story. There's a reason Malone fans are devoted. I just wish he wrote more and faster. But then, magic takes time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get it from the library...., March 13, 2006
This is the 5th Michael Malone book I have read - and, while o.k., it does not compare to Uncivil Seasons, Time's Witness, and The First Lady. I assume that if you are in academia, it have a bit more pull. This is one I would recommend you get from the library - it is not one I want in my personal collection - though I did purchase it because I was so impressed with the Cuddy and Jason series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh Out Loud, August 29, 2013
I bought this book as a last desperate act to find something to fill my time when I went on a 3 day weekend cruise on my parents boat. I wandered into a 'going out of business" sale at a corporate shop that failed. Couldn't find anything that grabbed me and settled on this. I never stopped laughing out loud while reading. At my parents house the night before, on the drive to the marina, on the cruise out to the marina we were visiting, during the whole yacht club visit, and home again. My mom would look back at me (startled by my laugh out louds) and say "It's that funny? Maybe I should read it". She said this often, I laughed out loud so often. She never did. This book sets you up in ways you can't imagine. It's a little long, but this time I didn't care. I looked for his other books, expecting (hoping)for the same results. Mixed success, his first book is unreadable, think Finnegans Wake unreadable. But he had more like this one (I recommend Handling Sin as well.)Don't know what you like, but this one touched my sarcastic, cynical bone like no other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TREASURE!!, December 28, 2008
By 
wroxton (Amenia, New York United States) - See all my reviews
I love this book! It's funny, smart and slyly witty.
Mr. Malone is brilliant at capturing the aura of the situation.
If you want a fantasy to transport you to other realms, take the Foolscap ride.
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FOOLSCAP : A NOVEL
FOOLSCAP : A NOVEL by Michael Malone (Unknown Binding - 1991)
Used & New from: $10.78
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