Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. It was done as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, which I had never heard of until after reading this book and looking it up.
If you have never read The Tempest, here is a summary of the plot: Prospero, a magician, and his daughter are stranded on an island after losing his dukedom to conspirators. After many years, the people who plotted against him are caught in a big storm and end up on the island. Prospero, with the help of his fairy, Ariel, has his chance for revenge.
Atwood’s book makes no secret that is a re-telling of The Tempest. The book itself revolves around characters putting on The Tempest at a prison. Several characters take on characteristics of The Tempest characters. Felix not only plays Prospero in the play, he identifies with Prospero in his quest for revenge. Felix uses the play The Tempest to live out The Tempest.
It was a very clever way to do the re-telling. The Tempest is not my favorite Shakespearean play, but I enjoyed this book. It was fun trying to figure out which of Atwood’s characters matched up with Shakespeare’s characters. Hint: Miranda, Felix’s daughter, is not Miranda from the play.
Like Shakespeare’s play, Hag-Seed is at times comedic and at times tragic, which is yet another clever way that the book imitated the play.
If you like Shakespeare, definitely give this book a try.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books.