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3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Christopher Rush's novel takes as its dramatic theme the deathbed meeting between William Shakespeare and his lawyer, as they meet to set out his final will and testament. As he answers his lawyer's questions, the Bard begins to recall his life.
Published July 1st 2008 by Beautiful Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Oct 25, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it to any other fans of historical "faction". You have to like a book with a superb pun for a title like "Will".

I also found it got better as it went along and the evocation of the grim realities of late 16th and early 17th century London life, particularly the plague and the almost casual executions, were completely absorbing. It's quite "fruity" as well. We feel that sex was abolished by the Victorians and reinvented in the 1960s but it was obviously
Michael Brown
Nov 01, 2011 Michael Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
By way of feeble homage and with a hint of apology:

It's tempting to proclaim that you do not
Require a love of Shakespeare for this book.
But really, to be honest, yes you do,
Which is a shame because of what you'd miss.
The tales of life and love and plays are here,
The lurid, lucid, poignant and the rest.
The lyrical, the licentious, the lewd -
At times the man is Bawd as much as Bard!
And if towards the end didactic words
Dilute the flavour of the fragrant whole,
It's just a small and petty price to p
Jo Barton
Mar 16, 2014 Jo Barton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This imagined autobiography of the life of the eminent bard starts as William Shakespeare, on his death bed, attempts to exit this mortal coil by recounting his life story to his lawyer Francis Collins. Making sense of this enigmatic playwright’s life and times is no easy feat and the author has done a commendable job in fleshing out the details of Shakespeare’s life from his early childhood in Stratford, through to adulthood amongst the glittering court world of Elizabethan politics and Jacobea
Oct 10, 2008 Overlook rated it it was amazing
March 1616: William Shakespeare is dying, with his lawyer at his bedside. It is time to dictate his will. But how can a man put his affairs in order before he's come to terms with his past? Acclaimed poet, novelist, and Shakespeare professor Christopher Rush has put thirty years of scholarship and creativity into this unforgettable reimagining of the Bard's life. Rush takes readers right into the mind of William Shakespeare, a man whose almost superhuman art was forged from very human frailties ...more
Derek Bridge
Aug 07, 2011 Derek Bridge rated it liked it
There's much to admire here, but admiration doesn't necessarily bring much pleasure.

William Shakespeare, in his deathbed, recounts his life to his lawyer, Francis Collins, while ostensibly dictating his will (Will's will, get it?). His rambling and bawdy account is laced with quotations from his plays and sonnets (sometimes cleverly interwoven, sometimes heavy-handedly).

The trouble is: this has been done before. Robert Nye does it in "The Late Mr. Shakespeare", using an aged player as his unreli
Apr 17, 2011 Mandy rated it did not like it
I never leave a book unfinished, and I hated to do it with this one, but when reading "Will" began to feel like a burden, I knew I needed to stop. A first-person narrative in Shakespeare's voice is a huge undertaking, and Christopher Rush wasn't really up to the task. Rush flounders in page-long descriptions, such as the one of Shakespeare's route (not the journey, the route) to London, and fails to instill a greater meaning in those passages. Occasionally the dialogue is witty, and there are a ...more
Venetia Green
Fiction or biography, poetry or gutter humour? I'm really not sure what to make of this book. In fact, I'm not sure whether 'Will' deserves 5 stars for its flashes of brilliance and insight or 2 stars for getting bogged down in blood, excreta and sex and completely losing the plot.
It started off brilliantly. William Shakespeare is nearing his end and must dictate his will (and life's memoirs, it seems) to his gluttonous lawyer. Rush's narrative was so poetic in these early chapters that I was h
Jul 19, 2012 Laura added it
This book took me longer to read than I would have thought because it didn't always hold my attention. Though clever and poetic, it isn't always a page turner. I don't want to get too detailed in my review (I have a stack of books to get through, and little enough time to read as it is), but I will say that although I found Rush's use of Shakespeare's words throughout this book to be well placed, it often felt redundant. What makes Shakespeare so special, in my opinion, is that he is not only a ...more
Molly Zeigler
May 19, 2016 Molly Zeigler rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable. I'm not sure what to call the subset of the fictional biographical genre this sort of work belongs to...but it's in most excellent company. Echoing the work of Robert Nye and the wondrous Anthony Burgess ("Nothing Like the Sun"), Rush's work showcases a passionate love of language, poetry, history, and, of course, of the figure - life and work and cultural capital/touchstone - that is William Shakespeare.
The mixing of biographical fact, supposition, loving anecdote, and the word
Kate krajeski
Jan 17, 2008 Kate krajeski rated it liked it
This was the raunchiest book i've ever read! (At least the most recent) It takes place at the time that William Shakespeare is on his death bed writing his will. It sounds pretty boring, right? But its not! There is a lot of historical facts, yes, but the language that is used is very modern day! Here's an example: "My balls were barbarians, the prick (you know what) a giant thistle, its purple head bristling with lethal seeds..."
Aug 01, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
This was a good read and made me want to read all of Shakespeare's works. The story is written, amazingly, in first person and captures his tone (as I imagine he spoke, anyway) perfectly. I liked the cameos of the bard's life and how he used these seemingly inconsequential events in his work. This book made Shakespeare seem very real and not a distant, antiquated historical figure. The very reason he is given the title of Greatest Literary Figure in history is because of his ability to address b ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, elizabethan
Clever and colourful, extremely earthy, but very very wordy which made it a bit of a chore to plough through.

As a fictional (but probably highly researched) portrait of Shakespeare, it made me think semi-profound thoughts about what makes a person 'successful', for example, Will is undoubtedly a master wordsmith, but he's a completely lousy husband and father; does this make him successful in his life then, or not?

It didn't go as far as to make me want to launch into reading my compendium of Sh
Apr 29, 2009 eq added it
Shelves: abandoned-ship
Ugh. This book gets no stars.

The first page was a chore. The author created this weird dialogue that Shakespeare was having with himself as well as with his lawyer who was on his deathbed. It just wasn't smooth reading and the first 3 pages just dragged. Yawn.

You also know that the publisher doesn't take your work very seriously when they give you next to no front matter for your author's note or dedication (on the copyright page!) Yikes!
Jun 01, 2012 Hillary rated it it was ok
I actually did not finish the book--I only read about a third of it. While I can appreciate the author's research and hard work in trying to recreate William Shakespeare's voice, it was just too much for this poor reader: too long, too dense, too repetitive. Too bad. I really wanted to like this book.
I even put it aside for a few weeks, but when I came back to it, it was more of the same. A few pages are enough.
Karen H
No stars!

This was chosen by someone in my book club for our monthly reading. She chose it based on reviews. I got about 3 Chapters into this and decided I would rather stick needles in my eyes than continue. It was tedious, boring, and disgustingly violent. At book club, most hadn't continued reading it for the same reasons. The person who chose it felt the need to apologize. Nuff said...
Logan Johnson
Nov 30, 2014 Logan Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
I may have been expecting to much with this novel, but I stand by my assumption the book wasn't going anywhere. Christopher Rush's ability to infuse a voice very near to the Original Bard is clearly exceptional, but by chapter 15 I saw no movement in the story and my attention began to waiver. The story felt forced, so much so, that it felt unnecessary to keep reading. So I didn't.
Dec 26, 2008 Mlg rated it liked it
Shelves: shakespeare
Shakespeare is dying and has summoned his lawyer to write out his will. In the process, he relives parts of his life, interspersing it with lines from his plays. Very well written, the author has an exceptional grasp of Shakespeare. Perhaps a little too strong on the bawdiness for my taste, but an interesting read.
Samantha Hartke
Aug 21, 2011 Samantha Hartke rated it really liked it
Not since Anthony Burgess has anyone so captured the voice and heart of William Shakespeare. This almost stream of conscious effort is startling in its color, descriptiveness and directness of prose. Astounding!
I'm a little worried - I started this book last night with high hopes and the first dozen or so pages were, well, awful and difficult to follow. I will read a bit more before deciding but I think this one might be a goner.
Jul 21, 2014 Samantha rated it did not like it
too meandering and not enough plot. The writer was too obsessed with descriptions about executions in all their glory details and not enough detail about Shakespeare's life. I got tired of the flowery prose and the writing style wasn't very engaging. needless to say, I did not finish this.
Apr 15, 2015 Dee rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Vivid language, much of it Shakespeare's but used very cleverly. gives a distinct picture of life in those times. The comments on the inspiration for the plays, rooting them firmly in this imagined life, made me look anew at some much-loved characters.
Davida Chazan
Sep 13, 2010 Davida Chazan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical
In this book, Christopher Rush brings us a fictional autobiography of one of the world's greatest writers ever - William Shakespeare. Read my review of this book here.
May 08, 2013 Nicole rated it did not like it
I'm a quitter. Couldn't make it past the first chapter. I really really wanted to because I find The Bard a fascinating subject, but alas. I'll have to look around for something else to read about him... In any case, NEXT!
Nov 23, 2008 danielle rated it liked it
This is an interesting fictional account of William Shakespeare's will writing. It took a while to get into it, but I found it a decent, entertaining read.
May 25, 2011 Steph rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
I'm not sure why I finished this really. Sometimes it fairly zips along but at others it's shockingly dull.
Lucy Murphy
Nov 08, 2008 Lucy Murphy rated it liked it
Sara C
Oct 27, 2008 Sara C rated it it was ok
Disappointed. Miles away from Shapiro and Nye, light years from Burgess...
Dec 27, 2015 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!!! I had never knew anything about Shakespeare prior to reading this book. The story as told by him is so interesting. I encourage all to read this book.
Melisende d'Outremer
Wanted to get into this but just couldn't. I gave it 2 chapters but still the tome was unable to grab my attention and imagination.
Mar 11, 2011 JackieB marked it as maybe-to-read
Shelves: from-library
Decided to stop reading this. It's a great book, but due to a health problem I can't concentrate too well at the moment, and I want to read this when I can appreciate it properly.
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William Shakespeare 1 1 Oct 17, 2016 09:10AM  
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