That Way Madness Lies: Fifteen of Shakespeare’s Most Notable Works Reimagined

Flatiron. Mar. 2021. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250753861.
Gr 9 Up–Queer and diverse, this Shakespeare anthology takes 15 of the Bard’s most iconic works and builds an eclectic collection that successfully subverts the original white heteronormative canon. The anthology juggles an array of voices and genres, with several standouts stealing the show: K. Ancrum’s banter and soul-searching in “Taming of a Soul Mate,” Kiersten White’s text message reincarnation of Romeo and Juliet in “Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow,” and the fairy-tale yearning Melissa Bashardoust imbues in her The Winter’s Tale retelling “Lost Girl.” Not every entry will appeal to all readers, but Adler curates a wide-ranging collection in which there is something for everyone. Each author takes on a different style and tone, from the deeply poetic prose of Brittany Cavallaro’s “His Invention” (Sonnet 147) to the bare-bones script formatting of Joy McCollough’s “Out of the Storm” (King Lear). Some stories feel unfinished, with rushed beginnings or too-open ends, which forces readers familiar with the source material to surmise the missing pieces. Not every tale adheres to the Bard’s work, but for all their differences, each selection features themes of identity and community, tying the stories together and highlighting the Bard’s idiosyncrasies. The authors often change the race, gender, and sexual orientation of characters in their stories, creating diverse and nuanced worlds reflective of real society.
VERDICT Built-in curriculum potential and excellent representation mean school libraries in particular will find this anthology a worthy purchase.

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