Shylock Is My Name (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Howard Jacobson

Recently, I'm going through a Shakespeare period, its climax probably the three plays I'll be seeing in the Globe in two weeks time (For those of you who're interested: A Midsummer's Night Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth). The Merchant of Venice, upon which Shylock is My Name is based, however is one of those plays that I still rather unfamiliar with. Both the story and the character of Shylock to be honest.


It felt like a great miss when I was reading Shylock is my name. Not only was I unable to see all the parallels between the story and the play, I also didn't know what to expect at all. Strangely enough, perhaps for those who're familiar with The Merchant of Venice, I didn't expect this story at all.


Most of the dialogue, most of the story even, surround about the two main characters, Strulovitch and Shylock, two old men who above all seem to be angry at the world. Due to their negative world view, the whole back has something depressing over it, which for me caused it to be not an easy read at all. I kept putting it away, because it was so depressing. This is why it cost me months to finish it. It's not what I would call a nice or enjoyable read. At least not when reading. Now that I'm finished, I can't say that I regret reading it. The prose was very beautiful, and would certainly be a reason to pick up another book by Howard Jacobson, but only if the theme is less depressing.


Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!