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Macbeth: A Novel Paperback – May 22, 2012
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Starred Review "Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with its bloody plot and characters, has inspired writers for years. Now Hartley and Hewson go a step further and adapt the play as a novel, in the process expanding its political background, making its language more accessible, and humanizing its characters. While both Macbeths profit from this approach, it’s Lady Macbeth, given the first name Skena, who is the primary beneficiary. Barren after the earlier death of their infant son, she presents her war-hero husband (with whom she has a deeply loving and passionate relationship) with political realities and then masterminds the assassination of Duncan, which leaves both Macbeths guilt-ridden. But Lady Macbeth has no role in the ensuing bloodshed. Macbeth’s longstanding friendship with Banquo also is fleshed out, and the appearance of Banquo’s ghost is rationally explained. The supernatural comes into play with the witches—here both cannibalistic and carnal—who make more frequent appearances but cast the same predictions; not all of the frequently quoted lines from the play appear here, however. This is an exceptional adaptation of a classic work of literature, a novelization that can add to the understanding and pleasure of the original to which it pays homage." — Michele Leber
About the Author
British-born author A. J. Hartley is the Russell Robinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and works as a scholar, screenwriter, dramaturg, and theater director. In addition to seven best-selling novels, he is the author of The Shakespearean Dramaturg; an upcoming performance history of Julius Caesar; a book on Shakespeare and political theatre; and numerous articles and book chapters. He also edits the performance journal, Shakespeare Bulletin, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He is married with one son and lives in Charlotte.
David Hewson is the author of seventeen novels that have been published in twenty different languages. His first book, Semana Santa, was transformed into a movie, and his nine-book, Rome-based Nic Costa series is currently in development for television. Before devoting himself full-time to writing, he worked as a journalist for the London Times, the Sunday Times, and The Independent.
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Top customer reviews
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Occasionally the writing was awkward, but not enough to get in the way of the story.
Oh, when will we three meet again? ask the magnificently-described witches at the opening of the novel. They are so alive and real! Each one has a biography and reminiscent of the Moirai--the Three Fates--in Greek Mythology. They are certainly not the Halloween witches stereotype stirring a cauldron.
The familiar lines from the play are woven into the novel including Lady Macbeth washing the blood from her hands, yet she is a wonderfully crafted character with depth and worthy of our sadness despite her influence on Macbeth.
Per the authors' words, "crimson carnage" or blood, blood, blood dominates the novel. Although I don't usually like gory novels or films, this is so much more than blood and death for sensationalism's sake that I will rate it highly. If blood bothers you, reconsider reading it. There are several levels of interpretation and if you are able to rise above the blood and gore, you will find it a worthwhile read!
(I bought the kindle edition and I am grateful that the price was affordable!)
One of the novel's authors is a Shakespearian scholar. The depth of his historical knowledge of Scotland, England and Shakespeare is apparent in the text.
Even though I have seen or read Shakespeare's original play many time and seen many versions on stage, I still found MacBeth: A Novel to be a page turner! Superb!
It follows the action of the play : Macbeth and Banquo meet the three wierd sisters; Macbeth kills Duncan; Macbeth has Banquo killed; Macbeth "sees" eight kings from Fleance's descendants, etc.
But the wierd sisters ... we don't really know if they are poor women, crazed women, witches, demons or living dead until the end. The young one is very erotic.
The others, including the Porter, are not entirely evil but certainly not good. Sinners like we'd probably be in their places. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are perhaps purer in heart than the others at the start. No one is untainted by the finish.
It's an interesting interpretation and an interesting read.