I just started reading comedian Stewart Lee’s 2001 novel The Perfect Fool, no doubt inspired by his time in the American Southwest investigating Native American clown culture. I knew he was a good writer because I’ve read his non-fiction books, as well as that terrifying piece he wrote for the New Statesman that ended up in Dead Funny, but this book is even more surprising. With the exception to some phrases like “candyfloss” and “quiff,” it kind of reads like a funnier Bentley Little novel–multiple story-lines with an aggressive attention to detail that will likely all converge at some point. It reads like Lee spent his life in the Southwest.
So far, we’ve got a man with amnesia who might be an astronaut on the hunt for the holy grail, a woman whose boyfriends always kill themselves, a Native American on his final performance as a clown, two rock’n’roll losers, and a homeless man searching for a cigarette butt he dropped years ago. I can’t wait to read what happens next, but at the same time, I want to savor this because Lee has yet to write any more novels.
Teaser posts are reviews based on just the first chapter.