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Archive: Other Books > Macbeth / Jo Nesbo - 4 stars

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Meli (melihooker) | 3682 comments Jo Nesbo's Macbeth is the latest release by the Hogarth Shakespeare project which publishes retellings of Shakespeare's work by acclaimed and bestselling authors of today.

Nesbo moves Shakespeare's original tragedy from 11th century Scotland to 1970's Scotland, although never actually named specifically. Instead of members of the King Duncan’s army, Macbeth and company are envisioned as members of the city’s police force under Chief Commissioner Duncan, the coveted position that drives the fatalistic ambition of the original story and its retelling. Loyal to its source, Nesbo has included all characters from the original play as well, making just the right modifications to bring them to life in a modern setting absent of the supernatural.

Although the supernatural element is missing, Nesbo executes a highly effective, believable alternative to the witches and their prophecy – drug kingpin Hecate (Shakespeare’s original Queen of the witches) who acts as puppet master to Macbeth setting the plot in motion. Lady, true to her origin as highly ambitious, is there to make sure it stays on track at whatever cost.

“There is only so much a man can take before he gives in, before he breaks every tattooed oath and does everything – absolutely everything – he thought he would never do. For eternal loyalty is inhuman and betrayal is human.”

Nesbo’s Macbeth is a testament to the timelessness of Shakespeare’s work and his insight into the human condition. Macbeth is the perfect play in the Bard’s vast library for Nesbo to celebrate that fact with his talent for weaving dark crime noir thrillers. Best known for the Harry Hole series of novels, this one-off proves he has much to offer outside that universe.

If you are a Jo Nesbo and Shakespeare fan, this is a no-brainer must-read.
Highly recommended for Shakespeare fans that enjoy modern adaptations of his work.
And finally, the crime noir fans out there should likewise give it a try.

This is a non-stop freight train of man’s insatiable ambition on a trajectory to destroy everything in its path. Enjoy!

message 2: by Cynda (last edited May 07, 2018 06:17AM) (new)

Cynda  (cynda) Oooh. Former journalist and now a crime writer. What a good combo forma re-telling of Macbeth. When the local library gets this, I will read it.

message 3: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5156 comments Never heard of this project before. On to the TBR!

message 4: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3106 comments annapi wrote: "Never heard of this project before. On to the TBR!"

Here's a link, Ana

Meli (melihooker) | 3682 comments Jgrace, thanks for adding the link! Meant to come back and add it...

Gillian Flynn adapting Hamlet for 2021! Can't wait that long!

message 6: by annapi (last edited May 07, 2018 09:41AM) (new)

annapi | 5156 comments Thanks for the link, Judith! It certainly is an interesting concept. This series would make a good challenge, I think - maybe even a discussion?

message 7: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3106 comments annapi wrote: "Thanks for the link, Judith! It certainly is an interesting concept. This series would make a good challenge, I think - maybe even a discussion?"

I own Atwood's Hag-Seed: The Tempest Retold, so I will probably read it at some point. Meli's review of Macbeth makes me interested in this one, but I haven't seen may positive reviews of most of the titles.

message 8: by annapi (last edited May 07, 2018 10:20AM) (new)

annapi | 5156 comments I have to brush up on Shakespeare first before reading any of them - I have just popped over to Wikipedia to look up the plots of Winter's Tale and King Lear. My daughter's high school drama class just put on The Tempest last week - 3 sold out performances! And they did a really good job (she was one of the spirits).

message 9: by Meli (last edited May 07, 2018 11:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meli (melihooker) | 3682 comments Yeah, I saw some mixed reviews of the Hogarth Shakespeare project titles. In the case of Macbeth, I think this is because he has a strong fanbase of Harry Hole fans, so some readers seemed disappointed this was a one-off and not another book in the series.

I will still check out the other titles.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier really peeked my interest as it reimagines Othello in 1970s Washington elementary school. Othello has always been one of my favorites, such a tragic tale, but hard to imagine with young children.

Also have Vinegar Girl on my to-read list. Taming of the Shrew is another favorite, and I've always enjoyed the film adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You *^_^*

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