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Fool (Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries) [Kindle Edition]

Frederick Dillen , Nancy Pearl
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Lust Rediscoveries
Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series
Book Lust Rediscoveries is devoted to reprinting some of the best (and now out of print) novels originally published between 1960-2000. Each book is personally selected by librarian Nancy Pearl and includes an introduction and discussion questions. Browse more novels in Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series.

Book Description

Self-absorbed Barnaby Griswold has to lose it all—money, homes, and family—before he gets a shot at becoming the unlikely hero of his own life.

Griswold is indisputably a fool. A well-educated, well-connected investments player on the one hand, but an entitled money-driven cretin on the other. His life changes almost overnight when he’s found to have acted slimily (but not illegally) by selling a stock short. His wife deserts him, his daughters disown him, and he loses his final and favorite home. At forty-six, disgraced and broke and lonely, Barnaby must repair his life to find redemption. Out of print for more than a decade, Frederick G. Dillen’s comic (and now timely) novel about an unlikely hero is now being reissued as part of librarian and NPR commentator Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust Rediscoveries series.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Barnaby Griswold, the protagonist of this assured and sophisticated novel, is a fulfillment of his father's worst fear: a fool, an indulgent "fluffmeister." After his devious, get-rich-quick investment scheme is exposed, he loses everything: his home, his wife and children and, above all, the spoils of a New York lifestyle he once, albeit briefly, enjoyed. Barnaby's story begins at his rock bottom: a Labor Day weekend he spends relinquishing the last of his equity and beginning his suspension from the securities business. His divorce is final and his wife and daughters await his exit. Sitting alone in what was once his summer home, he gets a providential phone call from his ex-mother-in-law, Ada Briley, who beckons him back to Oklahoma City, the very place where he pulled off his ill-fated swindle. His enemies there are plentiful, and one in particular, a duped client named Peterpotter, stalks and torments him. But Barnaby is resilient, suffering Peterpotter's abuses while nurturing Ada, to whom he's become attached. As Ada's health deteriorates, she becomes intensely dependent on him, and their friendship suffers with his interest in a local waitress, Marian Winott, who hails from the same East Coast circle that now ostracizes Barnaby. His perception of himself as a fool crystallizes, and he must decide which path to choose Ada's love, Marian's potential or a chance to salvage his woebegone lifestyle, a surprising development that occurs when, in a brief visit to New York, his intuition predicts a "Christmas Crash." He warns his old coterie, saves them from financial ruin and earns back their respect, enough that they beg his return to Manhattan. The epiphany Barnaby experiences is somewhat suspicious, slipped between confusion and a sudden closure, casting his transformation in doubt. Dillen recounts his second novel (after the praised Hero) in a dense and darkly comic voice, offering flourishing passages, clever turns and tense, delightful confrontations between characters. But while Barnaby is an engaging antihero, readers may find Dillen's tone a bit cold, almost refusing Barnaby sympathy when he needs it most, in his last-minute moment of truth. First serial rights to Harper's. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Barnaby Griswold, the eponymous hero of Dillen's second novel (after Hero) is not just a fool but a jerk and a loser as well. His loss-to-win record is appalling, the first column includes his wife, daughters, fortune, homes, well-placed friends, lunches at La C Ôte, and reputation, while the second includes only a tennis championship at a shabby beach club, his ex-wife's dying mother, and early-bird suppers at the Dinner Box. A securities trader, Barnaby guessed wrong. Hearing of ex-mother-in-law Ada's stroke, he flies to Oklahoma City to help care for her. Bumbling, solipsistic, and sponging off Ada, Barnaby is excruciatingly annoying. Yet halfway into the book, a strange fondness stirs. By the end, the reader is cheering him on as he achieves self-knowledge and a chance at love. Dillen's prose is astonishing, manic, and repetitive, and much of it is stream-of-consciousness, always Barnaby's. For most fiction collections where readers appreciate the unconventional. Judith Kicinski, Sarah Lawrence Coll. Lib., Bronxville, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1104 KB
  • Print Length: 309 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonEncore (August 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IWF29W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,767 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and subtle December 6, 1999
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This celebration of the human spirit has a most unlikely hero: a stockbroker and flimflam artist. Throughout the novel, Barnaby Griswold wrestles with a self-loathing so complete that it defines him. The narrative presents Barnaby as he sees himself, so the reader has little hope for him. The strategy works well in the end, as the character slowly evolves from clown into human complexity.
I was surprised by the story's direction after the flippant tone of the opening narrative led me to expect a farce or romantic comedy. The story moves very slowly, not the pace of comedy at all. The tennis game that begins the story is literally in slow motion. The crisis is viewed in retrospect, so we are given Barnaby's wry perspective of it. I loved the author's use of the tiger motif to deflect Barnaby's own self-deprecation and remind us that even stockbrokers have human potential. What happens in the end remains appropriately open to chance, as is life.
You could almost see this as a contemporary rewrite of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," only without the sentimentality. After his quiet epiphany, Barnaby does not become a great philanthropist or spiritual leader; he simply fulfills some personal responsibilities. Nice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second Chances October 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Barnaby Griswold, whether he admits it to himself or not, is largely perceived by the rest of the world to be a fool. Those closest to him, his father and ex-mother-in-law, among them, have even told him so to his face. Barnaby, however, is a hustler, a man very good at putting together business deals and investments from which he generally walks away with more cash than those who put their own money at risk. So, pardon Barnaby if he believes there are bigger fools in the world than him.

But as Fool opens, it has all, inevitably, gone horribly wrong for Barnaby Griswold. The get-rich-quick swindle he pulled off in Oklahoma City has blown up in his face and Barnaby is penniless - and soon to be even homeless. Resigned to vacating what used to be his family's summer home by Labor Day, he finally starts to pack his few things on the afternoon of that very day. But where to go?

It is when, by chance, Barnaby hears of his ex-mother-in-law's stroke that a plan begins to come together for him. Returning to the scene of the crime, Oklahoma City, he will volunteer to help care for her as she recovers. Unfortunately for our fool, Oklahoma City is also home to most of his recent victims, and one of them is out for revenge - any way that he can get it.

Fool, the second of Frederick G. Dillen's two novels - first published in 1999 - is part of the new Amazon Encore / Book Lust Rediscoveries series for which Nancy Pearl selects her favorite out-of-print books for publication by Amazon. The books selected must have been originally published between 1960 and 2000.

As Pearl says in her introduction to Fool, "It's the feelings or emotions that you experience while you're reading a book that you remember, not the details that make up the plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barnaby is one of the kind October 21, 2012
By Helena
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Barnaby Griswold is an investment banker. He manages money for his investors. One day he decides to short the stocks he is managing. While his investors expect to make money, they loose it all and Barnaby is one of the most hated people in their eyes. Although he did not do anything illegal, his actions are unethical. At age 46, his wife leaves him his daughters are estranged and he has no job and no prospects. To redeem himself, he spends time taking care of his ill ex-mother-in-law. He is drifting from one day to the next wanting to figure out what he will do next with his life. Until one day he uses his banking skills and lands himself some allies by helping them make lots of money.

So Barnaby takes a big leap, leaves Oklahoma City for New York City. He leaves behind the family he's lost, his dying ex mother in law and a 28 year old woman he likes, knowing that sooner or later "she will come to her senses" and find someone closer to her own age...

Barnaby is a kind of person everybody loves to hate. He is son of privilege and wealth, man with powerful connections who somehow drifted through life. He has never been a ladies man and has spent decades in marriage with his wife for who he seemingly has no emotional attachment. With his daughters he was a dutiful father who halfheartedly fulfilled his responsibilities. One cannot but wonder how will his second act in life turn out to be.

This fabulous book was first published in 1999 and it is now in reprint. It's theme is similar to "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "Great Gatsby". Book will capture all of your attention.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fool And His Money Plus Some Tiger Symbolism August 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The third offering in Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscovery series FOOL took me awhile to engage with and though I did eventually become somewhat interested in the main character antihero Barnaby and his life for the most part I found the book to be disappointing. The book is written in a darkly humorous style that others have found laugh out loud funny but did not yield more than a few slight smiles from me. A lot of the action of FOOL takes place in Oklahoma City a location where I lived for a year and a place I view with fond bemusement. Author Frederick Dillon portrays the city and its unique residents and characteristics accurately and my favorite parts of the book occur there. Barnaby's ex mother-in-law Ada lives in OKC and though she is a memorable character I often found her and Barnaby's interactions more sad than funny. The book's other settings are Manhattan and in an exclusive New England beach community where Barnaby's family has owned a home for generations and the portions of the novel set there did not really resonate with me. And there is a lot of tiger symbolism throughout the narrative with which I also did not really relate. I plan to continue to follow the Book Lust series selections but this addition is more of a miss than a hit with me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wry Masterpiece
Barnaby Griswold is a child of old line New England privilege, but a disappointment to his stern father. Read more
Published 4 months ago by glenn reider
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
just wasn't my type of book
Published 5 months ago by mark erickson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my choice.
Started out interestingly enough, but soon became Ho-Hum. Too predictable.
Published 5 months ago by Sally Duernberger
4.0 out of 5 stars I love all the kindle books
I love all the kindle books, I read nightly and enjoy a quick escape. Thank you for getting me back into books! Read more
Published 6 months ago by ally
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is well-written and clever, and I'm sure ...
This book is well-written and clever, and I'm sure my problem with it is my own lack of something.(perhaps not enough knowledge of wealthy eastern families :) ) That said, I... Read more
Published 7 months ago by ChantalSchurr C.
3.0 out of 5 stars I wish Nancy Pearl recommended fewer books of this genre.
I have read several of Nancy Pearl's recommended books now and I am really tired of burnt out, alcoholic, upper class easterners. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gina M., Blum
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, touching read
I found it to be lighthearted, touching read about contemporary relations and what it means to be a "fool". Highly recommended.
Published 10 months ago by Thomas Ballard
3.0 out of 5 stars It is a complicated story
When I first picked up the book, I stopped at half way because I wasn't able to follow the story. Then, six months later, I picked it up again and started all over from the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Yu-Ping Cheng
1.0 out of 5 stars Fool
The storyline was to slow for me, seemed to drag on. One of very few books I did not finish.
Published 12 months ago by William A Hazen
4.0 out of 5 stars Different
Nancy Pearl always picks good books. I was in the mood to read something different and it was a good choice.
Published 13 months ago by Linda Barto
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