Here's another novel that involves a select group of people engaging with Shakespeare. This time, it's a troupe of professional actors.
William Harding, our protagonist and narrator, is a famous movie star whose life is falling apart. He has been unfaithful to his rock-star wife, and all the tabloids (and others) are shouting about it. All that when he's on the verge of his Broadway premiere in Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV.
Ethan Hawke is a famous movie star. Remember his Hamlet (for which, q.v.)? I don't know anything about his private life, but he does have considerable insight into how an actor does the job of acting, which is the part of the novel I found most interesting.
In that light, let me give you a sample—it's opening night of the play, and Harding is giving the role of Hotspur everything he's got. [As a quick note, this novel is heavily on the R-rated side in general.]
I find that quite insightful.
The connections to the other actors are also developed convincingly—as is the way the director is portrayed.
Finally, I appreciated the choice of play—it wasn't one of the biggies we often find in Shakespeare-related novels. I'm not particularly drawn to the Henry IV plays, but this helped me gain one insider's perspective.
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