The Serpent of Venice

Christopher Moore, Author, Euan Morton, Performed by
Christopher Moore, read by Evan Morton. Harper Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 10.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-0-06-231100-9
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Evan Morton has a field day in his laugh-out-loud reading of Moore’s latest bit of novelistic frivolity. Playing off of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Othello and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” Moore produces an unlikely but often hilarious story that finds Pocket the fool in Venice on behalf of his English Queen and falling into one whacky situation after another. Narrator Morton takes full advantage of Moore’s wild imagination. His out of the box, over-the-top narration fits the zaniness of the story perfectly. He never falters or stumbles, but leaps into each madcap scene with near-perfect comic timing. Commendably, the performance never overshadows or undermines the more serious themes, such as anti-Semitism and the destructiveness of jealousy, tactfully addressed in the narrative, but like all good humorists, they deliver messages with laughter. If you tickle us, as Moore and Morton surely do, there is no need to ask we do indeed laugh. A William Morrow hardcover. (Apr.)
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