What happens when Shakespeare goes to prison? His works humanize prisoners and open them up to reform in a way that the prison system fails to, says author Margaret Atwood.
In Margaret Atwood’s new novel Hag-Seed, the protagonist Felix loses his job as a theatre director and is exiled to teach in a prison. Exiled? You betcha. Atwood’s latest work is a re-telling of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The problem with speculative fiction is what might be called "the tour of the garbage disposal plant," in which somone says to the visiting character, “Well in your day, you did this terribly inefficient thing, but now we have this wonderful garbage disposal plant.”
I read 1984 probably three years after it was first published. I read Brave New World around that time in my life. I read a book called Darkness and Noon, which is actually not speculative fiction or science fiction. It’s life during the purges in the Soviet Union, but it read to me very much like that kind of book.
The art of narration may have emerged as an evolutionary adaptation, says the author. "If I can tell you that right over there in that river was where the crocodile ate Uncle George, you don’t have to test that in your own life by going over there and getting eaten by the crocodile."
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian novelist, poet, and essayist. She is best known for her novels, in which she creates strong, often enigmatic, women characters and excels in telling open-ended stories, while dissecting contemporary urban life and sexual politics. She is among the most-honored authors of fiction in recent history. In addition to the Arthur C. Clark Award-winning "The Handmaid’s Tale," her novels include "Cat’s Eye," which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, "Alias Grace," which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy, and "The Blind Assassin," winner of the 2000 Booker Prize. "Oryx and Crake" was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. She was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature in 2008. Her most recent novel is "The Year of the Flood."