Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lisa Klein's Shakespeare-Related Young Adult Novels

Klein, Lisa. Lady Macbeth's Daughter. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.  

———. Ophelia. New York: Bloomsbury, 2007.

I feel that I am more in the target audience for these two novels than for Tempestuous or Exposure; these books aren't as clearly focused on the modern American high school crowd. That said, I also didn't feel any sort of connection to these two works.

Both books are generally romanticized retellings of a Shakespeare play's plot, but they are, I'm sorry to say, on the banal, blasé, and boring side. They lack the fire, the passion, and the interest of Rebecca Reisert's Third Witch (for which, q.v.) or her Ophelia's Revenge (for which, q. this particular v.).

The main interest is in how they deviate from the plots of their respective plays. Without giving away too much, Lady Macbeth's Daughter invents a daughter for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth—only Macbeth (à la Leontes) orders the child killed. The Ophelia of Ophelia survives the events at the end of Hamlet (that information is revealed in a letter to her from Horatio that opens the novel, so that's not too much of a spoiler).

In all that, though, the things I long for in a work of this sort—a deep and interesting interpretation of the characters that makes me eager to return to Shakespeare's plays to see what sort of difference the interpretation makes—is, alas missing.

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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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