Just another GR refugee. Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.
Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood's entry in the "novelists take on Shakespeare's plays" lineup, and is her take on The Tempest.
Felix, the director of a Canadian theater festival, and a lover of Shakespeare, is planning his latest extravaganza: a production of The Tempest, starring a teenaged gymnast as Miranda. And then he finds his assistant has betrayed him and taken his job. His daughter, Miranda, has just died, at age 3. He is a broken man.
And so, using an assumed name ("Mr. Duke"), he goes off into the wilderness to become a hermit, living only with the spirit of his dead daughter. After a while, he revives enough to stalk his former assistant on the internet, as the latter goes from success to success. He also eventually becomes the leader of an inmate rehabilitation program, teaching literacy and job skills, down at the local prison.
His teaching method: staging Shakespeare. The prisoners are both cast and crew (the "job skills" part) for plays like MacBeth and Julius Caesar. His next production: The Tempest.
And then he finds out his former assistant, now a government minister, is going to be attending the performance. And a plan forms in his mind. One that will involve some of the special skills of his cast, who include pickpockets, ex gang enforcers, black hat hackers, and a crooked accountant.
I dithered between giving this 3.5 and 4 stars. The writing is pure Atwood. The plot, however - it's that fourth act that gives me pause. Is it as good as Oryx and Crake or The Handmaid's Tale? No. Is it still an interesting and entertaining novel? Yes, absolutely.