Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

Once again, a deliciously striking cover for Margaret Atwood’s most recent novel, and the most recent entry into the Hogarth Shakespeare Project… and the first in the project that I’ve read. Now, I have a confession to make before going much further: I’ve never really got Margaret Atwood. I’ve wanted to; I’ve tried to. I…

Nutshell, Ian McEwan

Some books need more of an exercise in imagination than others. A bigger suspension of disbelief. An unborn narrator, for example, is one such. And not just unborn in a metaphorical sense but literally foetal. The narrator of McEwan’s most recent book – recently serialised on Radio 4 – is a third-trimester Hamlet, set in modern London, recounting…

The Ghost Of Shakespeare

It’s surprising how coincidences happen sometimes. I mean, it’s no surprise that there’s been a lot of crime and detective fiction in my reading list recently: it’s basically research! But there’s also been a lot of Shakespeare in it! Ali Shaw’s The Trees isn’t – I don’t think – based on Shakespeare but there are…

Intertextuality in the The Woman in Black

Intertextuality is a strange idea. It’s reasonable and intuitive that texts refer both backwards and forwards within themselves: how many stories and tales begin and end at the same place and setting? Detective fiction is built on the importance of small early details turning into clues to be resolved later. Anton Chekov went so far…

The Hypnotist, Lars Kepler

I worry about Sweden. It keeps me up at night. I wake in cold sweats. I worry about the weather there: the snow and freezing temperatures. I worry about the trolls. I worry about IKEA. And I worry about the people. And families. It must be a terrible place. Every single novel I’ve read from…

Hamlet and Women, discussion

Hamlet, perhaps the most famous and most argued over play by Shakespeare, was written between the years 1599 and 1601 as Elizabeth I was reaching the end of her reign. The play features two of the most famous women in Shakespeare: Ophelia and Gertrude and Hamlet’s relationships with these women account for a large number…