The Hogarth Shakespeare project launched in late 2015, with prominent authors retelling and re-imagining the works of Shakespeare. With authors such as Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, and Gillian Flynn, I couldn’t help but be excited about these novels. Yet somehow, despite Atwood’s contribution being the fourth installment, it’s also the first one I’ve read!
Hag-Seed*, Atwood’s take on The Tempest, is the perfect blend of humor and heart. Felix (as Prospero) is the artistic director of the Makeshiweg Festival, or he was, until he was maneuvered out of his position by his scheming assistant Tony. After a self-imposed exile, complete with a depressing, dilapidated shack, he takes on a new position at The Fletcher County Correctional Institute for non-violent offenders. Here he teaches inmates about Shakespeare, changing their lives – and his – in the process. I won’t say how it wraps up, but I loved it. While I had very little doubt about Atwood being an excellent choice for such a project, I am very happy my suspicions were confirmed. Hag-Seed is a witty, wonderful, tongue in cheek novel. I’d highly recommend it to most anyone, but (of course) especially to Shakespeare fans.
Next up, for me, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. I’ve been hesitant to read it because I’m not sure anything can top my love for 10 Things I Hate About You, and I don’t want to be left…whelmed.
*I received a complimentary review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.