Hag-Seed: William Shakespeare's The Tempest Retold: A Novel (Hogarth Shakespeare) (Paperback)
A fallen theater director takes the opportunity to stage Shakespeare in a local prison, using inventive ways to entice the inmates to participate. I was enthralled from start to finish. Atwood has made a wonderful contribution to the Hogarth-Shakespeare series with her take on The Tempest.— From Lorna
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The beloved author of The Handmaid’s Tale reimagines Shakespeare’s final, great play, The Tempest, in a gripping and emotionally rich novel of passion and revenge.
“A marvel of gorgeous yet economical prose, in the service of a story that’s utterly heartbreaking yet pierced by humor, with a plot that retains considerable subtlety even as the original’s back story falls neatly into place.”—The New York Times Book Review
Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. Now he’s staging aTempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, but it will also 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, which, after twelve years, arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison.
Margaret Atwood’s novel take on Shakespeare’s play of enchantment, retribution, and second chances leads us on an interactive, illusion-ridden journey filled with new surprises and wonders of its own.
Praise for Hag-Seed
“What makes the book thrilling, and hugely pleasurable, is how closely Atwood hews to Shakespeare even as she casts her own potent charms, rap-composition included. . . . Part Shakespeare, part Atwood, Hag-Seed is a most delicate monster—and that’s ‘delicate’ in the 17th-century sense. It’s delightful.”—Boston Globe
“Atwood has designed an ingenious doubling of the plot of The Tempest: Felix, the usurped director, finds himself cast by circumstances as a real-life version of Prospero, the usurped Duke. If you know the play well, these echoes grow stronger when Felix decides to exact his revenge by conjuring up a new version of The Tempest designed to overwhelm his enemies.”—Washington Post
“A funny and heartwarming tale of revenge and redemption . . . Hag-Seed is a remarkable contribution to the canon.”—Bustle
About the Author
MARGARET ATWOOD is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series, her novels include The Testaments, which was the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize; Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; The Heart Goes Last; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. In 2019, she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She lives in Toronto.
"A marvel of gorgeous yet economical prose, in the service of a story that's utterly heartbreaking yet pierced by humor, with a plot that retains considerable subtlety even as the original's back story falls neatly into place."—New York Times Book Review
“What makes the book thrilling, and hugely pleasurable, is how closely Atwood hews to Shakespeare even as she casts her own potent charms, rap-composition included… Part Shakespeare, part Atwood, “Hag-Seed” is a most delicate monster — and that’s “delicate” in the 17th-century sense. It’s delightful.”—The Boston Globe
“Atwood has designed an ingenious doubling of the plot of “The Tempest”: Felix, the usurped director, finds himself cast by circumstances as a real-life version of Prospero, the usurped Duke. If you know the play well, these echoes grow stronger when Felix decides to exact his revenge by conjuring up a new version of “The Tempest” designed to overwhelm his enemies.”—The Washington Post
“A funny and heartwarming tale of revenge and redemption, this latest release in the Hogarth Shakespeare project, whose aim it is to retell Shakespeare's most beloved works through the works of bestselling authors like Anne Tyler and Gillian Flynn, Hag-Seed is a remarkable contribution to the canon.”—Bustle
“Atwood’s canny remix offers multiple pleasures…[marvel] at the ways she changes, updates, and parallels the play’s magic, grief, vengeance, and showmanship.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review
“…Inventive, heartfelt, and swiftly rendered.” –Library Journal, starred review
"Atwood brilliantly pulls off the caper in a short novel that should be assigned to high school students as a hilarious riff on one of Shakespeare's more mystifying plays. It's much more than a retelling; it's an ingenious analysis and critique rolled into one."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Margaret Atwood's modern retelling is an entertaining romp of revenge, redemption."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"A triumph [...] The book illuminates the breadth and depth of the whole play. The troupe's workshops on it fizz with perception as Atwood transmits the pleasurable buzz of exploring a literary masterpiece. There won't be a more glowing tribute to Shakespeare in his 400th anniversary year."–Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
"The novel shines a thrilling new light on The Tempest's themes of revenge and forgiveness [...] as well as making a strong case for art's ability to "set you free" by helping you understand yourself."–Helen Brown, Sunday Telegraph
"Surpassingly brilliant [...] without question the cleverest "neo-Shakespearean novel" I have ever read [...] the learning and the critical analysis are worn exceptionally lightly, always subordinated to wit, invention, characterisation and slick twists of plot [...] wonderfully ingenious."–Jonathan Bate, The Times
“…you don't need to be a Shakespeare geek like me to enjoy Hag-Seed; it's a good story, and will introduce you to the play gently, with Felix himself as your guide.”–NPR Books
“Hag-Seed is a treat. It’s a beautifully constructed adaptation, one that stands on its own but is even richer when read against its source — and can, in turn, enrich its source material. It’s playful and thoughtful, and it singlehandedly makes a good argument for the value of adapting Shakespeare.”–Vox
“Atwood has tremendous fun with Hag-Seed. Those who know the play will especially enjoy her artful treatment of its more poignant storylines. But even someone unfamiliar with Shakespeare will be entertained by this compelling tale of enchantment and second chances, and the rough magic it so delightfully embodies.”-Bookpage
“Readers looking for Atwood’s wit and mastery of language will find it at work here… Atwood more than does justice to the Bard.”-Chicago Review of Books
“One needn’t be a Shakespeare fan in order to love this retelling of The Tempest…This book is funny and wonderful. Highly recommended for Shakespeare lovers and those seeking revenge.”-Seattle Book Review