Book Review: Not all is as it seems in Margaret Atwood’s earthy adaptation of The Tempest

Hag-Seed is the latest offering from Hogarth Shakespeare, a series that takes Ben Jonson’s quote “He was not of an age, but for all time” seriously and publishes novels by acclaimed and best-selling authors retelling Shakespeare’s plays. Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s contribution—a brilliant retelling of The Tempest that is as enjoyable to read as it must have been for Prospero to watch the storm he created.

Hag-Seed starts in the middle of its story with the beginning of a production of The Tempest:

The house lights dim. The audience quiets.

ON THE BIG FLATSCREEN: Jagged yellow lettering on black:

THE TEMPEST

By William Shakespeare

With

The Fletcher Correctional Players

The Fletcher Correctional Players? Yes, this is a Tempest performed within a prison, with its own particular language, which we hear right away when the announcer begins:

What you’re gonna see, is a storm at sea …

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