Hogarth Shakespeare and Margaret Atwood

Last year I was excited to read Jeanette Winterson's Gap of Time, a retelling of Shakespeare's The Winters Tale. This was the first in Crown Publishing's Hogarth Shakespeare series, with the promise of three more titles to come. Earlier this year they released Shylock is My Name (a retelling of Merchant of Venice) by Howard Jacobson and Vinegar Girl (a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew) by Anne Tyler. And on October 11th, they'll release the 4th book in the series Hag Seed (a retelling of The Tempest), by Margaret Atwood. It's already getting starred reviews and for anyone who loves Shakespeare this is a fun little series to add to your collection.

Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson (Hogarth Shakespeare, October 6, 2015)

SynopsisIn The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.

Starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Shylock is My Name, Howard Jacobson (Hogarth Shakespeare, February 9, 2016)

SynopsisWinter, a cemetery, Shylock. In this provocative and profound interpretation of “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch.  With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice's “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter's rejection of her Jewish upbringing. Culminating in a shocking twist on Shylock’s demand for the infamous pound of flesh, Jacobson’s insightful retelling examines contemporary, acutely relevant questions of Jewish identity while maintaining a poignant sympathy for its characters and a genuine spiritual kinship with its antecedent—a drama which Jacobson himself considers to be “the most troubling of Shakespeare’s plays for anyone, but, for an English novelist who happens to be Jewish, also the most challenging.”

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler (Hogarth Shakespeare, June 21, 2016)

SynopsisKate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.  

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

Starred review from Booklist.

Hag Seed, Margaret Atwood (Hogarth Shakespeare, October 11, 2016)

SynopsisFelix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds.
Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.
After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It's magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?

Starred Reviews from Library Journal & Publishers Weekly.

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