Author(s): John Reed
An epic tragedy of love, war, murder, and madness, plucked from the pages of Shakespeare In "All the World's a Grave," John Reed reconstructs the works of William Shakespeare into a new five-act tragedy. The language is Shakespeareas, but the drama that unfolds is as fresh as the blood on the stage. Prince Hamlet goes to war for Juliet, the daughter of King Lear. Having captured Juliet as his brideaby reckless warahe returns home to find that his mother has murdered his father and married Macbeth. Enter Iago, who persuades Hamlet that Juliet is having an affair with Romeo. As the Prince goes mad with jealousy, King Lear mounts his army. . . This play promises to be the most provocative and entertaining work to be added to the Shakespeare canon since Tom Stoppardas "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,"
In an inspired bit of bricolage, Reed selects characters and passages from Othello, Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and Henry V and recombines them into a new work. Well, new is an overstatement, since all major plot twists are lifted from the aforementioned playsathe murder of an old king by someone poisoned by ambition, a young prince determined to expose his fatheras killer, an innocent young woman falsely accused and then murdered by her husband. Only the names have been shuffled to freshen the story. Here Macbeth kills Hamletas father, Juliet marries Hamlet (and then, poor girl, plays Desdemona to his Othello), and King Lear leads an army, like Fortinbras, into Hamletas bloodsoaked country (Bohemia, not Denmark). This aremix versiona of Shakespeare proves fascinating and entertaining. Reed clearly loves the Bard. His pastiche contains many of Shakespeareas best passages, which are always a delight to reread. More impressive, though, Reed fashions from this familiar material a story containing enough surprises to delight even those well versed in the Bard.
Praise for John Reedas novels:
aJohn Reed excels in the realm of the strange.a
a"San Francisco Examiner"
aReedas book is a swift and satisfying read, viciously funny, out of left field.a
a"The New York Post"