New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Ok so I haven’t been posting like Ms K but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading and thinking about books. For those of you who have been holding off starting something new until you’ve heard from me (pay attention both of you) I am sorry.  All I can say is the wait has been worth it because I’ve got a winner recommendation for you.

New Boy is a modern reworking of Othello, but you didn’t need to know that. It is a fantastic read it its own right made only better by being such an unlikely twist on the original.  Set in a school playground over 24 hours, the book tells the tale of how a single new student can change the dynamics of long established friendship groups forever.

Shakespearean phrases and staging are replaced with stolen kisses at recess, lies at lunch, escalating to a punch in the nose after school. Far from teen fiction, this is an irresistible physiological study of human fears and personality types that transcends all ages.

If Clueless could re-imagine Emma by Jane Austen for a 21st century audience, there is no reason something even better couldn’t be done with material as rich as Othello.  Even if you struggled with Shakespeare at school, characters like Iago are just so good, so perfectly evil, that they can anchor any tale.

New Boy is written by Tracy Chevalier who is best known for “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” which I (like so many others) absolutely loved. This book could not be more different in substance or style but is every bit as enjoyable a read.

Fingers crossed this review can keep my loyal followers busy while I contemplate my one.  On that note, I’ve given up on Lincoln in the Bardo but am moving onto The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy before new Aussie release An Artifact of Interest by Steve Rogers. Well that’s the plan at least.