Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hag-Seed” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Hogarth Shakespeare)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  24,842 ratings  ·  3,789 reviews
When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontarioaccompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years agoFelix devises a plan for retribution.

Eventually he takes a
Audiobook, 8 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hag-Seed, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Val The novel tells you enough about the play to explain the context, as Gloria says. There is also a synopsis of the play at the end of the book, so you…moreThe novel tells you enough about the play to explain the context, as Gloria says. There is also a synopsis of the play at the end of the book, so you might find it helps to read that first.

You don't need to read the other books in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. They are all individual author's takes on Shakespeare's plays, so the only links between them are the author of the original play and the publisher. (less)
Sarah Thompson The word means "fox" in a Canadian indigenous language. This is a great interview with Margaret Atwood on CBC where she mentions what it means. …moreThe word means "fox" in a Canadian indigenous language. This is a great interview with Margaret Atwood on CBC where she mentions what it means.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,842 ratings  ·  3,789 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hag-Seed
Sean Barrs The Ultra Vegan
The Tempest is my favourite Shakespeare play.

Ive read it dozens of times and watched various versions of it over the years. Unfortunately, Ive not seen it live yet. One day Ill see it live at Shakespeare's Globe in London. Theres so much to take from this play, and Atwoods interpretation completely blew my mind. The way she took one of the lines made me consider this in a completely new light.

This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine

Caliban, the seed of the Hag, could be Prosperos son?

Diane S ☔
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have now read three of the four re-imaginings of Shakespeare's plays and this is my favorite to date, by far. Atwood and I have had an on and off again relationship but here she has outdone herself. The Tempest, a sorry of magic and fantasy, revenge and hatred performed in a correctional institute, by non violent offenders, their stage manager Félix. Félix has known his share of heartbreak and loss, most recently betrayed by his assistant and ousted from a prominent position.

What Atwood has
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Felix is the Artistic Director of the Makeshiwig Theater Festival and a theatrical visionary whose outlandish re-imaginings of Shakespeare's plays have both baffled and awed critics. On the cusp of staging The Tempest, a play Felix intends to make his greatest work yet, an act of unforeseen treachery relieves him of his position and strips him of professional dignity. Twelve years later, after a need to
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare, canadian
Ban-ban Ca-Caliban,
Dont need no master, I am not your man!
So stuff it up your hole, gimme back what you stole,
Tellin you its late, Im fillin up with rage,
Im gettin all set to go on a ram-page!
Aint gonna work for less than minimum wage---
Live in a shack and piss in a pail,
You earn yourself money by puttin me in jail!

You kick me in the head, you dump me in the snow,
Leave me there for dead,
Cause Im nothin to you.
Ban, Ban, Ca-Caliban,
You think Im an animal, not even a man!

Now Hag-Seeds black and
Elyse  Walters
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
After Felix, artistic director, of the Makeshiweg Festival, gets weaseled out of his job by Tony, his under-cutting 'right-hand-man' ...he moves off grid
into a hillside dwelling - an old rustic small shack with cobwebs, a smelly outhouse, surrounded by weeds. He tidied up the inside space --but
"despite his pathetic attempts at domesticity, he slept restlessly and woke often".

Both Felix's wife and child are deceased. He lived with grief, yet when Felix was the artistic director of the very
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear. I think that Margaret Atwood and I are just not meant to be. With the exception of Cat's Eye, every time I read one of her books, I admire her cleverness -- her wry intellect and dry wit -- but I just can't connect. Hag Seed gave me the same experience all over again. Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, Hag Seed is a modern retelling of The Tempest. It features Felix -- a fallen director from a thinly disguised Stratford Festival -- who plots his revenge through a staging of The ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Put bluntly, Atwood's last two have sah-hucked.

Yeah, this one's included. & here's why: the premise of "The Tempest Retold" is masterful with the prison standing in for the island and the master portrayed as a theater director--the temptation to bring a 400+ year work from the best English writer of all time into our contemporary one deserves much applause. And follow through. Instead, we get almost exactly where we thought that all of this was going (this, despite never having read this
Old Hat, New Hat

Its just over 400 years since Shakespeares death. How can we ensure his continued relevance?

The publishers answer was to commision a series of Shakespeare Retold novels. Atwoods answer was to demonstrate exactly how to cultivate understanding of and enthusiasm for the Bard to modern and potentially unenthusiastic students: low-literacy prisoners.

Picture: Do you have anything new by Shakespeare?

Atwood has a clear agenda: Shakespeare was and is for everyone, literacy matters, and
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those ready to drop their magic
Shelves: read-in-2017
A contemporary retelling of The Tempest, Atwoods novel is part of Hogarth Shakespeare Series that celebrates the Bards 400th anniversary and, in my humble opinion, it more than succeeds in preserving his timeless, thought-provoking genius.
Instead of narrowing down the complexities of the original play, Atwood embraces them all, adding further layers of ambiguity that open up multiple levels of understanding of the plot and subplots, creating a play within a play in a Russian doll narrative
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, audio, 2018
This is my second experience with the Hogarth Shakespeare Series. My first try was Vinegar Girl (click for my review) which I did not care for very much. So, I went into this one with much trepedation, but hoping for the best!

I did enjoy Hag-Seed very much. I have both Shakespearean reasons and overall story reasons.

Shakespearean reasons: I don't know about the rest of you, but I think the original Shakespearean Tempest is quite weird and out there - I have never seen it, but I have read it
This is by no means a bad book. Margaret Atwood is a fantastic writer, and I've enjoyed so many works by her. But I think the concept overshadowed the actual story for me. The Hogarth Shakespeare series is a really cool ideato have contemporary writers adapt Shakespeare plays into novels. But the results have been lackluster to me. On one hand, it's fun to see the parallels between Atwood's characters and Shakespeare's. On the other hand, it doesn't leave too much to the imagination. Because ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of this series of Shakespeare rewrites that I have read and it was so good! It shows how a really good, quality writer like Margaret Atwood can successfully turn her hand to anything.
Of course her writing is always beautiful, whatever the topic, but in this book she was amazing in her originality. By the time her main character, Mr Duke, had written his version of The Tempest I was longing to be able to go and see it performed. Her interpretation and ideas were just brilliant.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Originally appeared here:]

The Shakespearean scent is high in the air in his 400th anniversary year and a handful of reputed authors are capturing it to present it anew in the Hogarth Shakespeare series. A task so stimulating, so enchanting that it is bound to throw aromas of myriad nature into the literary air. And Margaret Atwood proves to be a fantastic flag-bearer of this spirited bunch.

Hag-Seed follows Felix, Prospero from the original. He is the
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deliciously brilliant.

The Hogarth Shakespeare series began in 2015 and was commissioned to have talented contemporary writers reimagine and retell some of Shakespeares best plays into a modern setting. These have long been on my radar and my first entry was a jaw droppingly, awe inspiring, knock me down and take my lunch money virtuoso performance by Margaret Atwood: a dramatic vision of my favorite Bard play The Tempest.

Atwoods 2016 publication has our new world Prospero as an eccentric
Helene Jeppesen
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a retelling of a Shakespearean play I've never read, and it's by Margaret Atwood whom I believe to be one of the finest story tellers. I had a feeling I was going to love this, and I did.
"The Tempest" is retold through Felix who takes on the job of teaching prisoners how to read Shakespeare and how to play him. Felix has a secret wish for revenge, though, which serves as his main motivation for doing this exact play with the prisoners.
It was interesting to see how Atwood mixes two
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fan-freaking-tastic. I adored it.

I have such immense respect for Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid's Tale is right up there with other dystopian classics like 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 in its scope of influence. But thats the only book of hers that Ive read all the way through, and that particular book was assigned for a class. I liked it, but it was homework, which always skews my enjoyment level a bit. There are other books by Atwood that Ive picked up, but I could
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2018
Another one that has been sitting on the to read shelf for far too long, I enjoyed this far more than I expected to. Anyone who believes Atwood has no sense of humour (and that might once have included me) should read this clever and outrageous reworking of The Tempest and imagine how much fun Atwood had writing it.

I won't say too much about the plot, since there may still be a few of you out there who have not yet read it, but I found this one of Atwood's most enjoyable books, and it even
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

Your profanity, thinks Felix, has oft been your whoreson hag-born progenitor of literacy.

When I learned that Margaret Atwood had written a book for the Hogarth Shakespeare series, I was both thrilled and hesitant to pick it up. I love Atwoods work. I love Shakespeare. However, there are elements of both authors writing that I can see would react like fire and ice.

Atwood is one of my go-to authors for strong female characters. Shakespeare does not come immediately to my mind for that purpose.
Margaret Atwood looks more like a good witch every year, and here she works her magic on The Tempest to produce the most satisfying volume of the Hogarth Shakespeare series yet. Theres a really clever play-within-the-play-within-the-play thing going on, and themes of imprisonment and performance resonate in multiple ways. Its fun to see the disgraced Felixs second act as a director of inmate plays at Fletcher Correctional I dont care why youre in here or what they say youve done: for this ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

'The Hogarth Shakespeare Project' commissions renowned writers to retell and modernize Shakepeare's works. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a contemporary version of 'The Tempest.'

In a nutshell: The Tempest tells the story of Prospero, a duke that's been deposed and exiled by his treacherous brother Antonio, who's in cahoots with the King. The banished Prospero is stranded on an island with his young daughter Miranda, the monster(ish) Caliban, and the mystical spirit Ariel. After many years
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, retelling
the island is a theatre. Prospero is a director. Hes putting on a play, within which theres another play. If his magic holds and his play is successful, hell get his hearts desire. But if he fails

This is a marvelous re-telling of Shakespeares The Tempest. It is a tale of prisons within prisons, of prisoners who do not realize theyre imprisoned, of vengeance and revenge. The most beautiful part of this book is that it is prisoners who are putting on the play. Their thoughts on the characters,
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, netgalley
Firstly, a big thank you to Netgalley, Crown, and Hogarth for allowing me access to this digital ARC for review purposes. I can't wait to have the physical copy in my hands in a few short weeks.

Yet another genius offering from the always excellent Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed is her unique, modern day retelling of The Tempest. This take centers on Felix, artistic director of the Makeshiweg Festival, who is wrongfully let go from his position. More or less usurped from his proverbial throne by the
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
This book earns 5 stars for originality (and somebody please tell me that there are really theater programs inside correctional facilities, because that is a brilliant idea!) Atwood is, of course, a master. Her modern-day "Tempset" is quite clever. Yet, somehow all the pieces here were less than the sum of their parts for me.

It could be that, in spite of his personal tragedies, I couldn't quite feel that the lead character Felix really had been professionally "wronged." It could be that none of
Glenn Sumi
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Review to come! Definitely weighing in on this one!
Althea Ann
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What this is not: A realistic, believable depiction of a prison system theater program.
What this is: Pretty damn amusing.

Do you need to have read 'The Tempest' before reading this? Absolutely nope. (Though it wouldn't hurt, naturally.) But Atwood seamlessly works in explanations of everything you need to know.

Atwood's latest is part of the "Hogarth Shakespeare" series, in which contemporary authors have been invited to give us their retellings of and stories inspired by Shakespeare's plays.
Manuel Antão
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2016
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Monotony is anti-Shakespeare: "Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold" by Margaret Atwood

Shit off bounds, he says. Adjust your cursing accordingly.
Shit was okay last years, says Leggs. So how come?
I changed my mind, says Felix.
I got tired of it. Too much shit is monotonous, and monotony is anti-Shakespeare. []
In Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
When approaching Shakespeare in the twenty-first century many writers make an attempt at re-inventing the
I don't know whether I liked this or I loved it, but the last five chapters gave it a huge boost. It's also the first Margaret Atwood I've read with a touch light enough to respond to- it didn't feel like the burden the others have. Perhaps I have Shakespeare to thank for it. Wouldn't be the first time, would it? Nor the last, I'm sure.
Roger Brunyate
Shakespeare in Prison
The outer gate swings open, propelled by invisible hands. My thanks, ye demi-puppets, Felix addresses them silently, ye elves of barbed wire, tasers, and strong walls, weak masters though ye be. As he drives away downhill the gate closes behind him, locking itself with a metallic thud, Already the air is darkening; behind him, the searchlights blare into life.
Felix Phillips, renowned theater director fallen on hard times, drives home to his two-room shack after a day
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, lit-canadian
To the elements be free, he says to her.
And, finally she is.

image from the Richmond Shakespeare Society

I have this on my 'plays' shelf, but only because it's about a play. It's actually a novel.

An enjoyable read, particularly, perhaps only, if one is familiar with Shakespeares The Tempest.

I got the book only because I had seen (and read) the Bards play recently. (Okay, also because I have yet to be disappointed by an Atwood novel.)

Hag-Seed is one of the Hogarth retellings of Shakespeares plays.
Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood at her best (is she ever anything less, though?). Felix Phillips is the theatrical director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival in Ontarios Canada, famous for his pushing the creative envelope on the classics. He is pushed out by his assistant Tony who turns out to be a self-serving Machievellian villain. Years go by and Felix is living in a cabin near (but not too near) the Festival. He lives with his daughter Miranda who died when she was three but continues to live ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood - 4 stars 1 14 Jun 11, 2019 05:24PM  
Play Book Tag: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood - 4 Stars 6 24 Jun 05, 2019 01:25PM  
Around the Year i...: Hag-Seed, by Margaret Atwood 13 73 Jan 09, 2019 03:31AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Tempest
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • Milkman
  • The Silence of the Girls
  • Oroonoko and Other Writings
  • Melmoth
  • The Cockroach
  • Frankissstein: A Love Story
  • Treasure Island and The Ebb-Tide
  • Mirjami
  • The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)
  • Winter (Seasonal, #2)
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer
  • The Power
  • Desdemona
  • Transcription
  • Machines Like Me
  • The Essex Serpent
See similar books…
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry,

Other books in the series

Hogarth Shakespeare (8 books)
  • The Gap of Time
  • Shylock Is My Name
  • Vinegar Girl
  • New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare)
  • Dunbar
  • Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare)
  • Hamlet Retelling (Hogarth Shakespeare, #8)

Related Articles

What's popular right now? Memoirs, books available on Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, and the latest from big authors, including Margaret Atwoo...
63 likes · 23 comments
“You’re clear, Mr. Duke.” Grins from both of them. What could Felix possibly be suspected of smuggling, a harmless old thespian like him? It’s the words that should concern you, he thinks at them. That’s the real danger. Words don’t show up on scanners.” 11 likes
“Miranda nods, because she knows that to be true: noble people don't do things for the money, they simply have money, and that's what allows they to be noble. They don't really have to think about it much; they sprout benevolent acts the way trees sprout leaves.” 8 likes
More quotes…