Monday, February 08, 2016

2016 book 24

Jeannette Winterston's The Gap of Time
So, this publisher Hogarth has commissioned a bunch of great writers to do "cover" versions of Shakespeare plays--upcoming ones are by Howard Jacobson, Anne Tyler, and Margaret Atwood. I'm not super familiar with Winter's Tale, so came into this book pretty fresh and unbiased. It's set in modern times, with various kings and queens of the play being transposed into big banking business guys, video game designers, chanson singers, etc. Unfortunately, the writing just doesn't feel polished enough--the black characters' POV sections feel really false/flat, and the use of conversational Yiddish from the Jewish character is completely over-the-top. None of the dialogue feels natural (maybe that's b/c . . . Shakespeare?). One character's name is occasionally misspelled (Zeno instead of Xeno). Like, this is a high profile project from a prominent author, how did it not receive the utmost attention to detail? Also, and this is not Winterston's fault, but it is just so hard to sympathize with Shakespeare's mad kings. I really liked her author's notes on the text, but this was just not super compelling to me. That may be an issue with the source material, though. B.

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