Macbeth

MacbethMacbeth by Jo Nesbø
Published by Hogarth on April 5th 2018
Pages: 512
ISBN: 1781090262
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four-stars

“You’re a better man than me, Macbeth.”

Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth is his contribution to the Hogarth Shakespeare Project. This book started slowly for me. Which is funny because the book opens to action but nevertheless it was S-L-O-W. There is a lot going on all at once and there are a lot of characters with their agendas. I found I put this book down a lot in the beginning and turned to other books but kept coming back to this one. As I said I struggled in the beginning of this book as it was slow, but it didn’t stay that way. This Mash up of Nesbo and Shakespeare was quite entertaining. After the first couple of chapters I was hooked. This book kind of snuck up on me. If you struggle in the beginning of this book as I did, stay with it, it’s worth it as Nesbo unleashes his re-telling of Macbeth as only he can! It’s gritty, dark and addictive (once you get past the beginning).

“It’s never what you want to do, but what you have to do.”

Set in the 1970’s, this book focuses on a police force attempting to shed its drug problem. A dangerous drug lord named Hecate has high connections in the city and will use them to get what he wants – absolute power. He is manipulative and clever. Macbeth is a man with demons. He has addiction issues and is prone to violence and paranoia. He also just so happens to be the head of the SWAT team. Hecate’s plan involves manipulating Macbeth while putting him in a position of power. Hecate also owns one of the two casinos in the rainy industrial town which serves as the setting for this book. The other casino is owned by Macbeth’s girlfriend, Lady.

“A last desperate act which, seen from the outside, is a sacrifice, but which deep down you hope will be rewarded with the forgiveness of your sins and opening of heaven’s gates.”

A drug bust goes wrong at the beginning of the book and Macbeth and Duff, his childhood friend need to clean up the mess. It’s not long after that drug bust when power, greed and guilt come into play. Ambitions can and do get the worst of people in this book. In one way or another various characters owe others debts and call them in. Soon greed, ambition, corruption, backstabbing, lies, murder, love, guilt and the need to be the top dog in the city get the best of many characters.

Nesbo puts his personal touches on Macbeth focusing on political ambition, greed, murder, and police procedures and corruption. I thought Nesbo’s re-telling was clever, entertaining and intelligent. This book was well written and well thought out. I can’t imagine how much work it took to right such a re-telling. I think he pulled off the re-telling brilliantly.

I believe fans of Shakespeare’s Macbeth will appreciate this book and also people who have not read Shakespeare’s Macbeth will enjoy Nesbo’s re-telling. In other words, I do not believe you need to be familiar with the original work to enjoy this version.

Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars

Hag-Seed

Hag-SeedHag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Published by Hogarth on October 11th 2016
Pages: 301
ISBN: 0804141290
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three-stars

Received form the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m teetering between 3 and 3.5 stars.

A play within a play.

I have read a few of Atwood’s books and have enjoyed them much more than this one. Atwood is an incredibly gifted Author and I enjoy her dry wit and humor but this book dragged a little for me – especially in the beginning. The last part of the book (the prison) was my favorite.

The book begins with Felix losing his wife and soon thereafter his daughter, Miranda. He is working on his production of The Tempest when he loses his job as artistic director of the theater. He views his assistant (and enemy) as being responsible for the loss of his job.

Felix goes on to take a job teaching literacy through theater at a penitentiary. A job that he seems to excel at. What will the production be? The Tempest of course! This is where the book really caught my attention. All of the scenes within the prison are fantastic. This is where the book shined for me. I don’t want to tell too much of the story. This is the re-telling of the Tempest and Felix’s (Prospero)life mirrors the play. I will say she was very clever in her re-telling. I loved the prisoners. I loved the way rap and dance where incorporated into the play.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more if it drew me in from the beginning. I also think former knowledge of Shakespeare’s Tempest would be helpful. I believe it has been 18 years since I read the Tempest. I wish I would have taken the time to update and refresh my memory of the book. As I read Atwood’s re-telling there were parts where I thought “Yes” and “that’s right, I forgot about that”.

For me this book was good not great.

 

My tip: Read the section at the back of the book where the Author discusses The Tempest. I think this will be beneficial to read prior to reading Hag-Seed. I wish I would have known to read that section first!

three-stars

Summer House with Swimming Pool

Summer House with Swimming PoolSummer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Published by Hogarth on June 3rd 2014
Pages: 387
ISBN: 0804138818
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three-stars

Wow.. I was not expecting what happened in this book – the storyline and twists. Lately I have been able to figure out plots or see the “plot twists and turns” coming. This one got past me and I really liked that I was taken by surprise. This is a book that I find myself thin king about hours after finishing it. The characters are not likeable with the exception of Caroline for me. But I did feel she was blind to her husband’s antics with Judith. I don’t want to give anything away, but to say I enjoyed this book. The ending seemed rushed and abrupt compared to the rest of the book.

three-stars