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

Frederick Dillen , Nancy Pearl
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 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: 465 KB
  • Print Length: 309 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1565122348
  • Publisher: AmazonEncore (August 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IWF29W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 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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8 of 9 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Pearl and I like different things! February 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it was recommended by Nancy Pearl, who I like to hear on the radio.

It is a rather silly book about a silly man. He does seem to pull himself together toward the end. He is someone from a privileged background who leads others to lose money in an investment scheme. He is self involved and a not very good husband and parent. Maybe I am missing something that Nancy found in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not that interesting January 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
the main character really just whines a lot. The story describes a man who is a self-professed boob. Not edifying writing unless you enjoy men-bashing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good December 26, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a book for those who may be going through some sort of mental or emotional struggle. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from this easy to read book, in spite of the title "Fool". I loved how the main character was portrayed as a fool but in the end he became the person he was meant to always be. This was a really upbeat read and the kind that I enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the manic stock market days of the 1980's October 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The 2nd novel from a new to me author.

A redemption comedy set in the manic stock market days of the 1980's. With a top education and connections to all the right people investment broker Barnaby is 46 and has always gotten along by his charm and instincts, until a deal ending in an epic fail leads to a 4 month suspension by the Securities and Exchange Commission. And banishment from everything he has known.

Set adrift we watch Barnaby as he comically and with wry self analysis moves two setps forward and one step back. All with delicious writing keeping you interested. Probably not every one's cup of tea but this Banker from New England liked it.

I found the introduction by Nancy Pearl a must read and the further reading at the back of the book a bonus. I was disappointed in the Book Club guide which had only 5 questions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, blah anti-hero, 2.5 stars October 24, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The other reviewers have covered the plot numerous times, so I won't go into it too much. I'll just say this was a dark comedy and the main character Barnaby was an anti-hero. He's not a good guy and not a totally horrible guy, though it was hard for me to relate with a main character who just breezed through life with no regard to how he has hurt many of the people around him. At times, when bad things happened to him, I found myself thinking that Barnaby got just his "just desserts". Personally, I didn't find it very funny other than to smile at certain parts.

My favorite part of the book was the prologue, which stated that life was too short to read more than 50 pages of a book that didn't grab you. However, I did keep reading even though it didn't grab me. "Fool" isn't a bad book though, it's not one that I liked much either. It was just a bit forgettable, much like the main character Barnaby. Also, the tiger references/symbolism throughout the book I found a bit odd.

2.5 stars
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 18 days 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 1 month ago by Linda Barto
2.0 out of 5 stars Gave up
Could not get engaged in the story and quit. That is not something I usually do after the first page or two. This one just did not get off the ground for me.
Published 3 months ago by becksoccer
2.0 out of 5 stars IS MR. DILLEN ON DRUGS?
Sometimes we rediscover something that's been lost for a long time. Our immediate thrill is overwhelming and we want to share it with everyone. Read more
Published 4 months ago by IDIrishbiker
4.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating anti-hero ... neurotic just like me
This anti-hero tries so hard to do good, to meet his long-dead father's expectations, to make everyone happy -- even while he is conning them out of their money - he's lovable but... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Leela
4.0 out of 5 stars When the wave breaks.
Yeah, Barnaby, Chapter One, is not a guy I would admire as a friend. He is narcissistic, superficial, without any real substance, but with a dangerously poor sense of ethical... Read more
Published 8 months ago by William M. Balson Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Gifted or flimflam?
Gifted, or a flimflam artist? Dillen's character Barnaby is profoundly gifted, as acknowledged by the "Welcome Back" from Mr. Wall Street. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cress
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
I have been trying to read this book for almost three months now and have not made it past the first 15 pages.
Published 10 months ago by Aziza E. Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Not everybody's cup of tea............
The title is deceiving. The protagonist, Barnaby, is not really a Fool. He is Every Man. And the situations and predicaments in which he finds himself can be appreciated by all of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nice Lady
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull
This is the second book in the Book Lust Rediscovery series that I have not been able to finish. I'm so disappointed! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joan W. Johnson
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