Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Book Note: Malvolio's Revenge

Masson, Sophie. Malvolio's Revenge. New York: Ember, 2012.

The last book I read by Sophie Masson was The Madman of Venice (for which, q.v.). Indeed, I once taught it in a course I developed called "Modern Shakespearean Fiction."

I ran across this one in an essay for the most recent Shakespeare Association of America Convention. From the title, I thought it might be a sequel to Twelfth Night, and it does have some elements of that, but it's more of a mirror novel, but with a twist.

The story involves a touring troupe of actors putting on a play entitled Malvolio's Revenge. They end up in New Orleans. The year is 1910. There's much witchcraft, mystery, and intrigue.

Because of the mystery and intrigue, I don't want to say too much about the plot—spoilers, you know. But I'll provide a few sample pages—particularly geared toward the plot of the play-within-the-novel.

The first gives us the troupe's first sight of a Louisiana manor house called . . . yes, you can probably guess it . . . Illyria:


Later, we learn a bit more about the play:



I thought the book had a good sense of setting and tone, and the plot is intriguing. We don't get as much of the play-within-the-novel as I'd like—I'd like to learn more of the vision of the afterlife of Twelfth Night that the novel plays with.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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