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 Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.
Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?
This has officially been my very first Margaret Atwood novel. I've heard all good things and her work has been described to me as 'absolute genius' so when I saw one of her works up for grabs on Blogging for Books I figured it was the perfect time to give her a go.
My first impression wasn't positive. I don't know much about Shakespeare and I figured that would hinder my reading a bit, but that really wasn't the problem. The book is slow, thoughtful, calculating, and it's all told by Felix while slowly losing his sanity.
I had to push through the first few chapters of his loss and building depression, his troubles garnering no real sympathy from me and it left me wondering if the story would ever build into anything remotely fascinating. It was just so slow going.
But, the more I read, the more I realized I had to know how it ended. I had a few theories throughout the book, and remember, I don't know much about Shakespeare so there's no way I could have compared his story to that of a Shakespearian play and actually figured out what was going to happen.
Halfway through I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book had pulled me in and I couldn't stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen.
I still had a few issues, like that fact that everyone in the book seemed to know way more about Shakespeare than I would have thought an every day Joe should have known... I mean, how many jail security guards studied Shakespeare and can name his more obscure plays? I definitely couldn't name more than three and that would take quite a bit of thinking...
But overall Hag-Seed built into a fantastic story, an emotional and gripping read and I'm very glad I saw it through to the end.