Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

1. Front Cover Penguin Australia 2017. First published 2016. 2. Quoted in “Hag-Seed” by Margaret Atwood, p. 10 3. Cover of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare Source: flickr [CC BY 2.0] 4. RSC 1993 production of The Tempest. Image: Wikipedia Commons
I think Shakespeare would have approved of this modern take on his story, although he may have preferred a more malicious revenge.

This story is a retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Alex is a successful theatre director, but his rival Tony plots to take over his position. Outcast and living in a rudimentary shack, Alex takes on a job teaching drama to the inmates at a prison. He becomes very successful, but spends twelve years planning his revenge, and it reaches its climax when the prisoners perform their play, “The Tempest”.

  • Sydney Morning Herald: “This is a clever, warm, funny, sophisticated novel in which she effortlessly takes on The Tempest and produces a detailed, nuanced reading of it in the form of comic fiction.”
  • Ottawa Review of Books: “Atwood, as you’d expect, delivers this twisted and terribly entertaining plotline with aplomb, building a protagonist equal parts pitiable and eye-rollingly pretentious. Like the original Shakespeare, it’s surprisingly hilarious, and heartbreaking, and redemptive – and wickedly entertaining.”

Awards: Longlisted 2017 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Other editions.

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