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A Wounded Name Hardcover – September 1, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (September 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467708879
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467708876
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,668,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–This dark novel combines paranormal creatures and the legend of the drowned City of Ys with the events and characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is told from the point of view of Ophelia Castellan, the teenaged daughter of an Elsinore Academy official who must take pills to prevent her visions of supernatural beings. Ophelia's mother drowned herself years before and is now a morgen, a sirenlike being, who tries to convince Ophelia to come to the drowned city in the lake. Ophelia also sees ghosts, including two different versions of the dead headmaster, Hamlet Danemark. As she struggles to come to terms with her visions, she becomes embroiled in an increasingly abusive and troubled relationship with Dane, the grieving son of the deceased headmaster. The troubled boy sees the angry ghost of his father and swears revenge on his Uncle Claudius. When Dane kills her father, Ophelia finds herself descending into madness; she has to decide whether or not to succumb to her mother's importuning. This novel is a very feminist take on the events of the play as it focuses on Ophelia and incorporates recent critical thinking about the tragic consequences of the limitations and restrictions placed on women. At times, the attempts to paraphrase Shakespeare's poetry seem awkward, particularly when juxtaposed with the author's own haunting and evocative prose. Still, readers familiar with Hamlet will be fascinated with this retelling.–Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, debut author Hutchison sets the famous tragedy at Elsinore Academy, an exclusive private school that is burying its much-loved headmaster, Hamlet Danemark V. Most impacted by his death are his teenage son, Dane, and Dean Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia. Readers of Shakespeare know the rest of the story, but just as the Bard adapted history to suit his plays, Hutchison takes literary license as well. This is Ophelia’s story, full of her madness and passion that Shakespeare recognized but did not focus upon. She is obsessed with fulfilling her promise to Dane—to stay with him always—even as Dane’s madness escalates and he becomes increasingly physically and psychologically abusive towards Ophelia. Readers will recognize snippets of Hamlet’s most famous lines and passages, and Hutchison’s detailed descriptions of setting and dress lend ornateness to the narrative that is reminiscent of the Renaissance. Yet the transcendent nature of Hamlet is artfully emphasized by the contemporary characters and setting, and the reality that far too many young women are prone to Ophelia’s love-besotted mistake. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn

Customer Reviews

The pages flew by and I was captivated by every word.
She has the right to tell the story her way, but I think her main choice, to tell the story from Ophelia's point of view, is problematic.
Amazon Customer
The writing style is absolutely beautiful and does an excellent job of echoing Hamlet while being more accessible.
Karissa Eckert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BookMonster VINE VOICE on December 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm going to address the abuse Ophelia suffered, which I see many other reviewers have objected to. First of all - I do understand why other reviewers are upset. It was tolerated if not outright accepted and maybe this is not a book for younger girls who may misunderstand that this is not a good example of what they should do in a similar situation. HOWEVER, what the other reviewers are maybe not seeing is that, very unfortunately - it was portrayed accurately. Many victims of abuse will act similarly to how Ophelia did. It's not right and I wish it was different, but that's how it is. I've worked with victims of domestic abuse for the past three years - some are tolerant and even accepting of what was done to them for a variety of reasons. In this story, Ophelia was trying to help Hamlet - was trying to be his outlet and give him what he needed. Is it right? No. But it does happen. This book was not ADVOCATING abuse and saying hey, it's okay as long as you're upset, just like it is not saying that murder is okay. It was simply portraying a situation in which abuse was happening. And I'm not sure why people are surprised by the abuse. Did no one read the original play?

Onto the book itself - I thought this was a rather excellent retelling of Hamlet, grim and harsh, from the point of view of someone who was an ally but who was also very wronged by that complex character and just a hint of magic and the supernatural. I really enjoyed this exploration of Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship. Dark, sweet, complex, and no, not always pleasant which made it all the more realistic. I loved how the author gave the characters a bit of her own interpretation - especially Horatio. All in all, I couldn't put it down. I thought it was very well done. This author has a lot of talent and I will be seeking out more of her work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kat Heckenbach VINE VOICE on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm nearly done with this novel. And I'm writing my review now for a reason: I've hit that point where the novel has gone from completely breath-taking to I'm not finishing it.

Let me first give you an idea of where I'm coming from. I am both a Shakespeare fan and not a fan. When the stories are broken down for me, I love the plot lines. But I do not dig the old language, and I very, very much do not dig reading plays. And when I was in high school, my English teacher made the class listen to these *horrid* audio dramas of Shakespeare's works that to this day make me feel like nails are scratching across a chalkboard when I think about reading the original works.

That said, the idea of reading Hamlet *in a modern day setting with modern day dialog*--totally jumped on it.

Yes, the story is told from Ophelia's POV, and I found that an interesting choice. Very much a "grabbing for the girlie-romance readers" choice, but still.

And I opened the book and found such beautiful writing. BEAUTIFUL. And it stays beautiful throughout. Really--even at this point, I can say the writing has been consistently beautiful throughout.

But therein lies part of the problem. The writing is beautiful, but homogeneous. It never fluctuates in tone or mood, and after a while it starts to feel....weary.

My other big problem with the story is that it feels like it's being forced to fit the mold of the original story. It felt like wholly its own story at first, and the author's voice and the movement of the plot were seamless, flawless. But about half-way through, it was like the author thought, "Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be telling *Hamlet* and this, this and this happen, and now I need to make that all happen from what I've got so far.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Penguin Chick on November 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was so drawn to the cover of this book and to the fact that Ophelia sees ghosts. I realized that it's the story of Hamlet told from Ophelia's point of view and I found that to be a very interesting premise as well. I went into it excited and figuring I would love it. Well, not so much.

I get that the story isn't a happy one, for really anyone in the book. And I get that people are flawed and deal with that in all sorts of different ways. And maybe if this book wasn't geared towards young adults I would have given it a bit more leeway. However, I found myself getting really angry at times about the parts of the book where Ophelia is basically being abused by Dane. I think it even though the "why" of it was present that they way it was handed and just sort of accepted was not okay. I feel like Ophelia was pretty blase about most of it and this person is abusing her and leaving bruises and choking her! I just really felt like the wrong message is being put out there to readers that almost was saying that that type of behavior is acceptable as long as it's justified by some sort of tragedy or anger. And that's just not okay.

I'm not saying I need books with a happy ending or that I don't enjoy a read that depicts events that happen in the real world, but what I didn't like were the reactions to those events. I've been an avid reader my whole life and so many books that I read in my youth really affected how I think and feel still today. I'd just hate for a young person to read this book and feel like some of the actions described are okay.

All that being said, the book is very well written and if dark and depressing is your thing, this book will do the trick.
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A Wounded Name
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