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My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare My Name Is Will: A Novel of Sex, Drugs and Shakespeare by Jess Winfield

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two stories going on at once - William Shakespeare is forced to grow up under a repressive regime when he learns he has gotten a young woman pregnant; Willie Shakespeare Greenberg seeks to find a topic for his master's thesis while trying to avoid the cops as he completes a drug deal during the mid-1980's.

The author clearly knows his Shakespeare - both the history and the text and the novel moves along pretty well. I found the two stories alternating chapters to be distracting and often unnecessary. At times the book is entertaining, but probably of appeal only to those already in love with the Bard.

The Glister: A Novel The Glister: A Novel by John Burnside

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A good summary from Amazon by Jon Foro:

George Lister's secretive chemical plant fueled Innertown's economy for decades, but since its closure, its legacies are poverty, clusters of rare cancers, and a local wilderness populated with rumors of an unnatural selection of misshapen wildlife. When Mark Wilkinson--the first of several teen-aged boys to disappear every 12-18 in the coming years--is found hanged in the "poison woods" over a bizarre shrine of boughs, glass, and tinsel, the town constable chooses to cover up the atrocity (to the pleasure of Innertown's corrupt string-pullers), leaving the town's long-abandoned youth to take responsibility themselves. The Glister is a strange and affecting book, working as both simmering horror and a Dennis Lehane-style thriller: think The Blair Witch Project meets Mystic River meets It. Burnside's deliberate prose strikes a pitch-perfect balance between the insidious banalities of industrial society and the unacknowledged horrors lurking in the varicose network of cracks in its crumbling foundations, the spaces where institutionalized cowardice and naïve accountability meet to settle the fates of a damaged society's innocents. It's a story that will stay with you long after its last harrowing pages.

This book is beautifully written, though harrowing in theme and subject. It is dark, but it finds a resonant beauty in that darkness.
I found it devastating and lasting. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
That was my opinion on "My Name is Will" as well... okay, but that's about it.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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