Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shakespeare in Fiction

 Who knew that Shakespeare's life and plays (and poetry) would inspire fan fiction? Who knew that some of those fans would be well-known writers? One book I'm particularly intrigued by is My Name is Will by Jess Winfield,subtitled "a novel of sex, drugs and Shakespeare.  The "Will" of the title is Willie Shakespeare Greenberg, a modern grad student who's up to no good, with a parallel story back in the 16th century.  It sounds ambitious and it's got a ton of four-star reviews on Amazon, so I'm going to check it out.  (I also love the cover.)

Christopher Moore, who wrote the delightful Practical Demonkeeping, has a novel called Fool that's based loosely (and hilariously) on King Lear.  Here the story is told, as the title suggests, from the point of view of the court jester. The story is Lear-centric but touches on the entire Shakespeare canon in passing and if you're a fan of Moore, you will love it and if you don't know Moore, this is the book to read after you've read Practical Demonkeeping, which is one of the funniest urban fantasies out there. (In fact, if I ever do an Amazon "listmania" list, it will be first on my list of "Urban Fantasies without vampires or werewolves.")

Another novel that intrigues me (and is, in fact, already resident in my Kindle) is AJ Hartley and David Hewson's Macbeth: A Novel, a reimagining of "the Scottish play." Set in 11th century Scotland but conceived like a 21st century thriller, the book sounds like a great read.

Several different sources have compiled lists of books inspired by Shakesoeare, including Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, and A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.  Here's Matt Haig's top ten novels inspired by Shakespeare.  Here's another list from Hub Pages. And finally, from the New York Public Library, a reading list of fiction based on or inspired by Shakespere.

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