Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I, Iago - Nicole Galland

Title: I, Iago
Author: Nicole Galland
Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: April 2012
FTC: Received to review for TLC Book Tours

They called me "honest Iago"
from an early age, but in Venice,
this is not a compliment. It is rebuke.
One does not prosper by honesty.

I love that blurb on the cover.  When I read that this was Iago's - the villain from Shakespeare's Othello - story which was set in Venice, I was intrigued.  I had never read Othello so I also perused the Shakespeare play.  While reading the play I found Iago to be such an evil character. I wanted to know how someone could do the things he did.  I absolutely devoured this story. I can't wait to read more of Nicole Galland's novels.

The TLC Tours:

From the author of The Fool's Tale comes a brilliantly-crafted retelling of Shakespeare's Othello in which the "true" motivations of literature's greatest villain, Iago, are revealed. Everyone knows Shakespeare's classic tragedy of friendship and betrayal, love and jealousy: Othello. But the real story lies deep in the culture and biases of Venice and the childhood of a young man named Iago who coudl not escape his status as "runt of the litter" in his family nor his "distasteful" tendencies towards honesty that made him a social outcast.

In Nicole Galland's I, Iago we follow Iago from his childhood days playing pranks with young, naive Roderigo to falling in love with Emilia to betraying his closest friends and family, sealing his fate as one of the most notorious villains of all time.

My thoughts:

Loved it. Devoured it. Oddly enough, while reading Shakespeare's version I immediately hated Iago. But that's because we are thrown into the story right when Iago is plotting his revenge against Othello - the man he once trusted, respected, and loved - all because he felt slighted at being overlooked for promotion.  I devoured this book because it perfectly set the background for Iago's character - whom I came to understand, empathize, and kept hoping there was going to be a different ending than the one I knew.

Even if you've never read Othello or really never knew what the story was about, you will become engrossed in this book.  I only read half the Shakespeare play, mainly because I wanted to read Nicole Galland's ending first.  But if you are a Shakespeare aficionado, I think you will applaud her retelling of Iago's story.

I had someone say that while they liked the book it seemed a bit long sometimes.  I didn't find that to be true at all.  I loved the entire story - because it was Iago's story from his childhood to, well you know, the end.  I thought it was necessary to hear his story, all from his perspective, to really understand his character.  What a greater tragedy too to know that Iago had all this going for him but will always be known for his lies and betrayals.  (And yes I know he's a fictional character but still...)  I loved the characters: Emilia - the strong and beautiful wife, Othello - an awesome military man but oddly emotional when it comes to Desdemona, and of course Iago. I like Iago. I would never have said that if I had only read Shakespeare's play.  By the way, I could only picture Othello as Denzel Washington from the movie Much Ado About Nothing
Much Ado About Nothing

Last but not least, Venice.  A city I can't wait to visit and who's culture and traditions are so intriguing.  I loved that a large part of the story is set in Venice and how the city's traditions made an impact on Iago and the story.  


You may notice that my copy above has a P.S. on the corner which means at the end of the book there's a very cool interview with Nicole Galland on how/why she wrote the story and how it involves her meeting her future husband, an actor who played Iago in a play she directed.  How awesome is that!  

Nicole’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 24th: Elle Lit.
Wednesday, April 25th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, April 30th: Life In Review
Tuesday, May 1st: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, May 3rd: Picky Girl
Tuesday, May 8th: BookNAround
Wednesday, May 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, May 14th: Reading With Martinis
Tuesday, May 15th: A Library of My Own
Wednesday, May 16th: The Whimsical Cottage
Thursday, May 17th: From L.A. to LA

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