Romeo and Juliet: A Novel - Richard Armitage, David Hewson

Progress report. Just started. Pretty much decided to quit back in the first chapter. This 1960s rebellious teenager is no where near my idea of how this character should have been portrayed.

 

This is my third foray with Hewson and Shakespeare. I have listened both his Hamlet and Macbeth (written with A.J.Hartley) and they were both gripping. This time he is out on his own and this novelization of the Romeo and Juliet story (which is fiction to begin with) is driving me nuts. It is the anachronisms. It drives me crazy when a modern author endows a 15th century heroine with modern sensibilities. Extraordinary women were few and far between and Juliet was not one of them. Juliet was just another sad pawn in her father's ambitions.

 

Yes, I am sure that many think me a bit anti-feminist but really I am not. It is that I just don't think women of the 15th century had any idea what feminism was and don't like it when they are portrayed as if they did. I can't imagine Juliet as educated and reading the ancient Greeks. I can't imagine her being anything more than a dutiful daughter who learned to do exactly as she was told.

 

And yet there is no story more heart-breakingly romantic in the entire Shakespearean canon. And so, I read on,complete with Nino Rota sound-track.

 

UPDATE: Done. The end was a bit disappointing and in general, the story lacked dramatic tension.