This is an ingenious and beautifully written update version of Shakespeare's classic. It also manages to be a brilliant critique of the play:
- "Everyone loved the fight scenes: that's why Shakespeare put them in." (p 58)
- "The optimistic characters are stakeholders in the more positive side of human nature, the pessimistic characters in the more negative side." (p 259)
I love Atwood's work. Here we have genius:
- Her description of the smell prison: "Unfresh paint, faint mildew, unloved food eaten in boredom, and the smell of dejection, the shoulders slumping down, the head bowed, the body caving in upon itself. A meagre smell. Onion farts. Cold naked feet, damp towels, motherless years." (pp 74 - 75) Motherless years makes me want to weep.
- Her understanding of the fundamentals of humanity: "You know teenage girls, they desert their adored daddies the minute some young ripped stud heaves into view" (p 141)
- The joy of being alive: "Real life is brilliantly coloured ... It's made up of every possible hue, including those we can't see. All nature is a fire: everything forms, everything blossoms, everything fades. We are slow clouds ..." (p 178) Colourful philosophy.
- Appreciation of feminine beauty: "If he were their age he'd be leaning forward too. Actually, he is leaning forward." (p 256) Truth and humour entangled.
Another brilliant novel from the author of Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid's Tale.