The Book Blogger Hop is a meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week, a new book-themed question is posted, and this week’s question is…
Do you enjoy reading retellings of, or ‘sequels’ to, classic novels? Why or why not?
YES. Yes, yes, a million times yes! Not necessarily sequels, but retellings? Load me up with retellings!
Especially Shakespearean retellings. Oh man, Shakespearean retellings! It’s a wonder I read anything else when these exist!
Christopher Moore’s Fool was the first retelling I read, and it made me fall so hard in love with the… genre? Is it considered a genre? Whatever it’s considered, I love it!
Fool is a retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear, told from the point of view of (you guessed it) the fool. It’s a little more crass for my liking, but it’s still a pretty good story and was entertaining enough for me, and it’s very humorous.
The fool is often the most interesting character in Shakespearean plays, so it’s worth checking out if you’re interested!
I also picked up a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello called I, Iago from a book sale recently.
If you aren’t familiar with Othello, Iago is not the bird from Aladdin (though bird Iago is named after Shakespearean Iago!) but instead is the malicious, manipulative villain in Othello who convinces the title character that his wife is being unfaithful and… well, I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it ain’t good!
I, Iago, written by Nicole Galland, follows the story of Othello from the perspective of its primary villain. Since many of you only know me from this blog, you probably don’t know that I love villains. I love love LOVE them. Especially Shakespearean villains.
Fun fact: my favorite Shakespearean villain is the bastard Edmund from King Lear. I actually got to portray him in a small scene reenactment in a Shakespeare class I took a few years back, and I had so much fun with it! The best part was when I got to creepily run a (fake) blade across one of my classmate’s cheek. You bet your bum I got into that!
As much as I love retellings, I actually haven’t read a whole lot of them. While modern retellings of old classics are great and all, my interest lies in stories retold by other characters.
Take, for instance, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. This is another Shakespearean retelling, written in play format by Tom Stoppard. It’s also a movie starring Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Richard Dreyfuss. It focuses on two very minor characters from Hamlet: the title character’s childhood friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are only mentioned briefly in the play but still play a very significant role in the story.
I haven’t read or seen Stoppard’s play being performed, but I have seen the movie… many, many times. It’s extremely existential and unique (fitting for a retelling of Hamlet), and I imagine that it’s not for everyone because of this, but I loved it.
Plus, I mean, Oldman and Roth are absolutely fantastic in everything, and R&G are Dead is no different.
So, in short, YAH I love retellings! Recommend some to me! It doesn’t have to be Shakespearean retellings — anything that takes a story and tells it from a different perspective is up my alley!
What are your favorite retellings?