Monday, July 14, 2008

My Name is Will: a novel of sex, drugs and Shakespeare

Hedonistically, scandalously good. I was excited about this book way back in January, and it didn't disappoint.

It's the 1980s in northern California. Will Shakespeare Greenburg has been putting off writing his master's thesis for two years while enjoying the pleasures of drugs, inactivity and the company of women.

It's also the 1580s and teenager Will Shakespeare is going through similar experiences in southern Britain--women, wine and trouble.

Straightforward tale of parallels between two people and time periods, right? But there's more, and that's what makes this novel from the co-creator of the Reduced Shakespeare Company worth it. His command of Shakespeare's work results in wry plot details, clever quotes by other characters, and intriguing theories on the meanings behind parts of the plays and sonnets. And having lived in the Bay Area, it was a delight to know the backdrop against which he has set the characters--the UC Berkeley campus, the street intersections, the highways into the hills, etc. You think you know what this book has in store because you think you remember Shakespeare's biography, but Winfield surprises you when you least expect it. Dive in without scruples--it's a treat.

No comments: