Book Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood 

Well hello there, it has been quite awhile I know. But I’m back, it’s a brand new year with brand new books to read and review. To kick off 2017, I have set some reading goals for myself:

I began my Litsy A to Z Challenge by reading Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. I was extremely excited to read this, it had been on my TBR list for months and it did not dissapoint. Shakespeare + Margaret Atwood – what’s not to love?

This book is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series in which contemporary authors write a retelling of one of Shakespeare’s famous plays. I love a good Shakespeare retelling (10 Things I Hate About You, The Lion King, She’s The Man – just to name a few).

Hag-Seed is a retelling of The Tempest. I have never read The Tempest – I seemed to have avoided Shakespeare’s fantastical works, but that didn’t effect my view of the novel. Atwood introduces us to Felix Phillips a famed and eccentric artistic director for a theatre company. He is setting up an extravagant performance of The Tempest when he gets fired as a power move from his partner Tony.

He exiles himself to a cabin in the woods and changes his name as he plots his revenge. He also sees the ghost of his dead daughter, Miranda. Felix takes a job as a literature teacher at a local prison. He teaches the inmates Shakespeare and they perform a play at the end of each course. His program becomes very successful and has drawn the attention of the government, including his old partner who now works in government and the head of the theatre that allowed him to get fired.

He plots his revenge by having his inmates perform The Tempest and tricking his rivals into admitting their guilt. As you can imagine, hi-jinx ensue.

This book is very entertaining, I was hooked from the beginning. The plot moves very quickly and it’s quite a page turner. Atwood gives us these wonderfully quirky characters that make this read so fun. It’s funny, intelligent and exciting. If you like Shakespeare, you’ll love this book. If you don’t like Shakespeare, this book will make you love it.

-Lauren

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