Release date: October 11, 2016 by Crown Publishing and Hogarth
I have only fell in love with Margaret Atwood in the last year of so, since I read The Heart Goes Last. I also am not a big Shakespeare fan, as I have only read A Midsummer Night’s Dream (which I did really like, to be fair). Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s new book and is her re-telling of the Shakespeare play, The Tempest. Even with my limited knowledge of Shakespeare, I loved Hag-Seed.
Hag-Seed follows Felix, an artistic director ousted from his theater festival just before he puts on his greatest show yet – The Tempest. Eventually Felix finds a new outlet for his work in the area prison, teaching a literature/theater course to inmates. I love the way Atwood structures the story, moving back and forth and playing with time in a really great way. The story covers a pretty significant span of time – something like 10 years – and yet Atwood brilliantly ties it all together so it doesn’t feel like you’ve really missed out on anything.
Atwood’s writing style and structure is complemented by a fantastic plot and cast of delightful characters. Felix is a strange, flawed, eccentric man who has quirks that just seem right. The men in the prison are neither good nor bad, but simply people trying to survive a theater course and trying to get out. The antagonists of this story are the perfect amount of despicable, and the roles of Prospero and Miranda come to life in the pages. I love the prison setting and the nuances that come with it, and Atwood brings each aspect of the story – the characters, the play, the setting – to life.
Atwood is no stranger to brilliant writing and Hag-Seed is no different. The highest praise I can give is that I am now interested in actually reading The Tempest, and if a novel can inspire me to read Shakespeare, it is a winner.
Overall rating: 4/5 stars
[I received an advance copy of Hag-Seed from Crown Publishing and Hogarth via Net Galley. The opinions in this review are my own]