And this wasn't even a "before his prime" kind of work; it was published around the same time as the first production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." So if you ever find yourself writing bullshit, and you think you've regressed, don't worry.
I was already a Stoppard fan, but I'd never heard of "Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon" 'til that morning.
He does, even as the world has a hard time ignoring himhis horse-drawn carriage runs over pedestrians and his pet lion gets free now and again with consequence. Malquist finds the world meaningless and Moon wants to believe his protest will be meaningful. An inspired farce, Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon reads like a play or filmscript, making it a quick and very lively read.
Stoppard enjoys heaping on the anachronisms of the British aristocracy by placing the action around the earl's London palace, his club and the royal environs of Hyde Park Rotten Row during the time of the state funeral of the national hero, presumably Churchill. When another character, the Risen Christ enters on an ass, the writing is taken over by the kind of sparkling dialog that I enjoy in Stoppard's plays.
Note that I have recently reviewed Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Stoppards most famous work, as part of a study of Shakespeares Hamlet and that is why I took this diverting route into some of the further works of Stoppard. I also reviewed the incredible movie (directed by Stoppard), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. His production includes not only many plays (and many celebrated plays, beginning with radio plays and expanding to the stage), but also screen plays (some original and some adaptations), movie direction, translation, and even acting, libretto, and a novel. It would take me an entire semester, as it were, to cover Stoppard in his entirety, hitting on all his best plays and watching his movies. Here are some of the most famous (far from comprehensive): Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon (novel, 1966) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (play, 1966) The Real Inspector Hound (play, 1968) Jumpers (play, 1972) Travesties (play, 1974) Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (play, 1977) Professional Foul (TV play, 1977) Doggs Hamlet and Cahoots Macbeth (companion plays, 1979) The Real Thing (play, 1982) Arcadia (play, 1983) Brazil (screenplay, 1985) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (screenplay rewrite, 1989) Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (movie, 1990) Shakespeare In Love (screenplay, 1998) The Coast of Utopia (play trilogy, 2002) Parades End (adapted TV miniseries, 2012) Anna Karenina (adapted screenplay, 2012) Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright. Plays 5 or Plays Five: When deciding on a book of plays to read for Stoppard, I was confronted with many, but none with all his plays, and not one with his best or most famous. (I emphatically vote the latter.) One of the best things about Stoppard as a playwright is his inventiveness. In Arcadia, the action takes place in the same house, 180 years apart, so Stoppard chooses not to change sets between scenes and props become part of the unfolding story on two levels. Night and Day is my least favorite in the book, partly because of its themes of colonialism and journalism, but also because Stoppards device of having a second Ruth character speak for her thoughts wasin my opiniona complete flop. Im not sure Stoppard ever writes about anything but the artists, rich, famous, or aristocratic.) Stoppard also used a device similar to that in Arcadia, where scenes move back and forth between the last months of the main characters life and her sisters telling of the story to a biographer, although these scenes do not take place in the same setting and props do change, at least sort of. Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon: From the plays, I went on to read Stoppards only novel, Lord Malquist and Mr. Moon. It is exactly the kind of fantastical story that I look for and enjoy, complete with twists and turns and fast-paced plot and interesting characters and a giant mess of strings that come banging together at the end to create a satisfying explosion. As I often feel with Stoppard, I am likely missing a whole lot of satire wound up in his story, but what I do catch I find great fun. I consider Anna Karenina, the book, to be like a Russian cousin to the Jane Austen-esque novels, and while I have enjoyed those over the years (and many of their movies), I have never been able to get through Anna (the novel). What I was happy to discovercontrary to where I thought the novel was headed when I have tried to read itwas that the movie did not simper around Annas liberation as a sexual being and a woman. Im not really sure why the director took this direction I do now; Tom Stoppard wrote it, but it was beautiful and reminded me a lot of Baz Luhrman.
This, Stoppard's only novel, is closer to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead than Shakespeare in Love, and is filled with characters that see the universe only through their own collosal egomania.
It was an obvious fact and Moon did not know (39) why he alone should have to bear the burden of it.