Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Book Note: If We Were Villains

Rio, M. L. If We Were Villains. New York: Flatiron Bookx, 2017.

I'm playing a bit of catch-up with my reading—and even more with my posting on that reading.

Here, then, is a novel that's loaded with Shakespeare. It's set in an exclusive college for artists of all kinds (think Juilliard). We spend most of our time with the actors—and all they do is Shakespeare. Really, they eat, breathe, and act Shakespeare.

And it's also a murder mystery. Our narrator is getting out of prison having served ten years for a murder he claims not to have committed (though he confessed to the murder ten years earlier).

Since I found the novel compelling, I don't want to give any spoilers beyond that. But, as is my habit, I'd like to provide a sample for you, my dedicated readers.

Here, then, is part of a scene where the students enact scenes from Macbeth. The school has a tradition where a select group of students is tapped to perform scenes from a particular play. Each student is meant to keep his or her role confidential until the performance.

Let's sample some of their performance:

The students are, as one would expect if one really put one's thoughts to it, pretentious, but the plot is interesting, and the students quote from Shakespeare at the drop of a hat, which keeps things sharp.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest