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text 2018-10-07 22:10
This happened today.
Trial and Error (Arcturus Crime Classics) - Anthony Berkeley
Murder Among Friends - Elizabeth Ferrars
Anatomy of a Scandal: The Sunday Times bestseller everyone is talking about - Sarah Vaughan
Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold - Stephen Fry
Macbeth - Jo Nesbø
A Legacy of Spies - John le Carré

// TA decides to pack light because, after all, she's only leaving for a 2-day business trip.  Then agonizes a half hour over which one of several 100 books on physical TBR to take on the trip. //

 

// Leaving home, finds book in mailbox that was delivered yesterday but which for reasons unknown she didn't immediately retrieve.  Pulls book out of envelope, discards envelope, and stuffs book into travel case. //

 

TA gets to airport:  "Oh, look, there's the book store I knew all the time would be there!"

 

// Buys four more books just because. //

 

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review 2018-08-20 10:29
After reading this, I won't mention 'His' name either...
Macbeth - Jo Nesbø

Where to start…

For those familiar with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Nesbo has stayed (largely) true.

 

For those familiar with Nesbo, while this might be a re-telling of a classic, there is no missing his style.

 

For those new to either – buckle in!

 

This book fucked with my mind – more than a little.

 

I am generally a quick reader. This book, at 503 pages, took me 2 weeks.

With an easy reading book, you pump through chapter after chapter each night. The story flows, the emotions are those you are familiar with, even if only in literary terms. You can forget that with Nesbo’s Macbeth.

 

Set in a dystopian town with little industry, and rampant crime underpinned by drug boss Hecate. A former drug addict, now SWAT commander, Macbeth is deemed the best option to lead the town out of its nefarious and corrupted past. The ballooning death-toll points to the folly of this choice...

 

I don’t like that the town doesn’t have a name. The clues intimate a town like Aberdeen in Scotland, and I can understand Nesbo not wanting to tag a town with this story. But give it a name! What do those in the Capitol (for eg.) call the town?

 

As a good private-school boy in Australia, we were required to read Macbeth early in secondary school. I suspect that’s because private schools liked to encourage many of the themes – strength, leadership and loyalty. Conveniently forgetting the other themes of treachery, addiction and megalomania.

 

As a 44 year old, I can now recognise all these themes have, and always will, drive humans.

 

I’ll admit it’s been a good 29 years since I read the original. In saying that, I think Nesbo has done a good job honouring the essence of Macbeth. Like the best of Shakespeare’s works, it often asks for the reader to delve into areas we prefer to avoid.

 

Why did it fuck with my mind (and sleep) for 2 weeks (while reading, and another week on)?

 

I can read about some brutal violence, I can deal with treason. I understand murder of families for the ‘greater good’ in espionage novels, and don’t give a second thought to those who fall in the classic spy stories.

 

In Macbeth, Nesbo/Shakespeare makes every death count. Each twist takes you to a place you don't want to go. As the tale unfolds, you find yourself cheering for those who will betray you, and you want a merciless death for those who are upholding your values.

 

I’m not sure who this book is pitched to; if it’s the traditional Nesbo fan, I’d suggest that while you are used to casual violence, there are questions raised in this story that could (and should) keep you awake at night.

 

If Nesbo was hoping to tap-in to Shakespeare disciples, I suspect they would have been alarmed at what he found necessary to do a ‘modern’ version.

 

 

*Partial Spoiler and trigger warning:

 

This does not affect the plot at all, but gives you an idea of what your mind must confront.

 

One of the main players is a middle aged woman trying to breast feed a baby, who has been dead over a week. If the idea of this messes with your head, do NOT read this book. Sorry Jo…

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2018-06-08 15:41
Macbeth / Jo Nesbø
Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Jo Nesbø

He’s the best cop they’ve got.

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess.

He’s also an ex-drug addict with a troubled past.

He’s rewarded for his success. Power. Money. Respect. They’re all within reach.

But a man like him won’t get to the top.

Plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel. He’s convinced he won’t get what is rightfully his.

Unless he kills for it.

 

 

My enjoyment of this book suffered greatly from a case of bad timing—it came in at the library when I was in the mood for lighter, happier reading. And yet, I’d waited many weeks for it and there were 60 people behind me in line, so I felt duty bound to read it and pass it on. Perhaps I should have returned it and rejoined the line of holds.

Macbeth is a dark, bloody story. Jo Nesbø is expert at dark and bloody plot lines. This is a match made in hell. But I came to realize that when I watch Shakespeare’s version, I am insulated. There are kings and thanes and witches and iambic pentameter, none of which occur in my regular life and I’m able to distance myself from the violence, the blood and the back stabbing. This version, set in a modern town and police department, removed that cotton wool and exposed my nerve endings! During the first third of the book, I had a difficult time picking it back up after a break, because I knew the basic story line and knew that death and destruction were coming. Seeing it in modern terms, with modern weapons, in a current setting somehow made it so much worse and made it so much more relevant to a 21st century reader.

In Nesbø’s version, Macbeth is the successful head of a SWAT team in a town seething with corruption, double dealing and drugs. Everyone is on the take, it seems, if the price is high enough. Macbeth, orphan child, former circus performer, recovering addict, has come up in the world and is poised to go even higher. His love, Lady, has similarly come up from violence and poverty to now own a large and successful casino.

I thought Nesbø’s choice to make Hecate the head of the most successful drug cartel in the town was brilliant, and especially to have three women brewing the drugs. One of these three, Strega (Italian for witch, dontcha know) is Hecate’s main way of communicating with Macbeth and Lady, among others.

Someday, when I’m more in the mood for dark and dangerous, I may take this book on again and see what I make of it the second time around. In the meanwhile, I may check out the National Theatre’s production of the play (starring Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff) later this month at my local movie theatre.

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text 2018-06-07 15:00
Reading progress update: I've read 390 out of 464 pages.
Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Jo Nesbø

 

An involuntary nap last night prevented me from finishing this book.  Tonight I will conquer!

 

 

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text 2018-06-06 14:43
Reading progress update: I've read 311 out of 464 pages.
Macbeth (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Jo Nesbø

 

Three days remaining, 60 people waiting.  I'm feeling the pressure.  Hopefully I can get close to the finish line tonight.

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