Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Reads: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Full title: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

A major theme to my best friends wedding last weekend was "The Princess Bride" - so much so that I even started the hashtag #twoowuv to help people posting their photos.   In that spirit, I decided the time had come to re-read Goldman's book.  It had been years since I first read it.

From the back cover:
William Goldman''s modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests-for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love-that''s thrilling and timeless.

Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible-inconceivable, even-to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you''ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an "abridged" retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that''s home to "Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions."

I'm not going to put in my own synopsis to the book. The content of the book is familiar to anyone who has seen the movie.  Goldman did, after all, pen the movie script...but what makes the book even funnier than the movie is that it is written as an "abridgement" to an original fictional book penned by S. Morgenstern.  Throughout the book, Goldman interrupts his "abridging" to add a chastising note about the "original".  "I cut out this next part because all you are going to miss is 64 pages of preparations for a royal party" and the like.  
The Preface(s) are just as entertaining as the story itself. This version of the book (30th anniversary edition) finished  with the first chapter of the sequel "Buttercup's Baby", which Goldman is not going to be able to write...but to know that reason, you will actually need to read his preface to the chapter.  I refuse to give spoilers ;)

All in all, this is a quick and fun read that is well worth reading if you loved the movie.  Unlike Ende's Neverending Story - that movie could never even come close to TOUCHING the book - this one holds up as pop culture support material.

1 comment:

  1. I discovered the Bride in a seedy bookstore somewhere in Ontario. I picked it up out of curiosity, opened to a random page (I think it had ROUS in it) then another, Inconceivable! and then I damn near read the whole book before I bought it. At one time I could quote significant chunks of it, and probably still could now. "She does not get eaten by eels at this time." The sword fight at the top of the cliffs of insanity is one of my all time favourite literary scenes. All time, all genres. If you readers haven't read Princess Bride, go find it. Thank us later.

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