This week saw the release of Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood’s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And the reviews are flooding in: A.V. Club calls it “a brilliant retelling,” Paste says it “blurs the lines between genius and madness,” and the Los Angeles Review of Books argues that “Atwood is at her bewitching best in this gripping tale of betrayal and revenge that, incidentally, also displays her deep knowledge of The Tempest.”
In Atwood’s novelized retelling, the famed sorcerer Prospero is reconfigured as disgraced Canadian theatre director Felix: a man seeking revenge on those who ousted him from his prestigious position as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. Now, he’s running theatre courses at a nearby prison (in fact, the book opens with stage directions for the prisoners’ rendition of the actual Tempest in a deliciously meta turn).
Perhaps the most glowing praise comes from Vox, who conclude:
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.
No surprise here, given Atwood’s expansive body of work and global reputation as a literary icon. And beyond reviews, the book has generated a flurry of media—here’s Atwood being interviewed by CBC; here she is featured in The Globe and Mail; and for The Guardian, she answers the question on everyone’s mind: why The Tempest?
Grab a copy of Hag-Seed, in stores now. And be sure to also check out the first installment of Atwood’s graphic novel, Angel Catbird. On the horizon: TV adaptations of Alias Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the MaddAddam trilogy. What a year! To hire Margaret Atwood as the keynote speaker of your next conference or event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.