Title: The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
Author: Myrlin A. Hermes
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 26, 2010)
Category: historical/literary fiction
Review source: publisher
Watching the scene played, I realized what I had not while writing it: that I had conjured up a portrait of my own deepest desires. I was in love with Hamlet– not as I told myself, merely as devoted friend, not faithful servant, but ardently, passionately.
Hamlet is certainly my favorite Shakespeare play but I’m not a Shakespeare scholar by any means. Author Myrlin Hermes has really delved into Hamlet [and perhaps borrowed some elements from a Midsummer’s Night Dream] and crafted a witty romp of a tale that has a plethora of elements: love, mystery, intrigue, bi-sexuality, cross-dressing, deceit, broken hearts and despair. The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet also addresses that age old question of “Did Shakespeare really write all those plays?” There’s a love triangle between Hamlet, Horatio and the dark woman [here a Baronness] who inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets. Hermes cleverly weaves in phrases and alusions to Hamlet [the play] as often as possible. I took a Shakespeare class at Simmons College but The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet certainly expands far beyond my base of Shakespeare knowledge. I know I missed many of the hidden messages and Hamlet references that Hermes deftly includes in her prose. It’s such an original concept and Hermes carries it out well. Particularly for fans of Shakespeare, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is a winning read that turns Shakespeare “topsy-turvy.”