LITERATURE IN REVIEW: TWO CLASSICS RETOLD

Description

In the last few years, well known authors have been invited to rewrite classic stories from the past. This enables them to use the basic plot but apply it to contemporary life.

1) ‘Hagseed’ by Margaret Atwood
In this novel, Atwood has taken Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ and cleverly transposed the play to a penitentiary. Atwood’s take on ‘The Tempest’ has a once famous director, now an outcast from established theatre, agree to take on producing a play in a penitentiary. His aid is a dance teacher who is effectively Ariel. As to be expected, the players personalities and proclivities add another dimension to this play. In this Atwood is great fun but, at the same time acutely perceptive about the failings of society.

2) ‘The Silence of the Girls’ by Pat Barker
Barker’s novel ‘The silence of the Girls’ is focused on Homer’s 8th century BC epic poem, ‘The Iliad’ and describes the Greeks’ long pyrrhic campaign against Troy. Having written a trilogy of novels about World War One,  Barker is also an astute observer of the fates of women and how their lives have been historically shaped by men and the expectations of patriarchal society in general.