A Wounded Name


Product Details

Carolrhoda Lab (R)
Publish Date
5.87 X 8.92 X 1.13 inches | 1.19 pounds

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About the Author

Dot Hutchison is the author of A Wounded Name, a young adult novel based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the adult thriller The Butterfly Garden. With past experience working at a Boy Scout camp, a craft store, a bookstore, and the Renaissance Faire (as a human combat chess piece), Hutchison prides herself on remaining delightfully in tune with her inner young adult. She loves thunderstorms, mythology, history, and movies that can and should be watched on repeat. For more information on her current projects, visit www.dothutchison.com or check her out on Tumblr (www.dothutchison.tumblr.com), Twitter (@DotHutchison), or Facebook (www.facebook.com/DotHutchison).


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Shakespeare's famous play Hamlet is given a makeover in Hutchison's debut novel. The tragedy begins with the funeral of Hamlet Danemark V, the beloved headmaster of Elsinore Academy. A cast of familiar Shakespearean characters is then introduced, with sixteen-year-old Ophelia at the center. Ophelia is haunted by the ghost of her late mother and often hears the moans of the fae who haunt the burial grounds that surround Elsinore. Her father, Polonius, and brother, Laertes, attempt to keep Ophelia's 'wildness' subdued through a daily regimen of pills, which she takes only sporadically. After the headmaster's funeral, Ophelia comforts his son, Dane, and is swept up in Dane's schemes to revenge his father's death, believing him to be murdered by the calculating Claudius.
Whether or not one is familiar with Hamlet, the reader knows this novel is a tragedy and therefore the conclusion leaves little surprise. The journey to arrive at the expected tragic ending, however, is all too enticing to pass up. The novel is rife with ancient folklore, elements of fantasy, murder, and suspense. Each character is wholly rendered; good and evil are not labels easily affixed in this story, and the complicated family dynamics add to the drama. Ophelia's determined loyalty to Dane withstands his abuse and the reader will feel the struggle within each of them. Readers are in for a treat with Hutchison's rich, haunting prose. Fans of fantasy and historical fiction will be especially interested, and lovers of Shakespeare will appreciate this fresh retelling of a classic. --starred, VOYA

-- "Journal"

This dark novel combines paranormal creatures and the legend of the drowned City of Ys with the events and characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is told from the point of view of Ophelia Castellan, the teenaged daughter of an Elsinore Academy official who must take pills to prevent her visions of supernatural beings. Ophelia's mother drowned herself years before and is now a morgen, a sirenlike being, who tries to convince Ophelia to come to the drowned city in the lake. Ophelia also sees ghosts, including two different versions of the dead headmaster, Hamlet Danemark. As she struggles to come to terms with her visions, she becomes embroiled in an increasingly abusive and troubled relationship with Dane, the grieving son of the deceased headmaster. The troubled boy sees the angry ghost of his father and swears revenge on his Uncle Claudius. When Dane kills her father, Ophelia finds herself descending into madness; she has to decide whether or not to succumb to her mother's importuning. This novel is a very feminist take on the events of the play as it focuses on Ophelia and incorporates recent critical thinking about the tragic consequences of the limitations and restrictions placed on women. At times, the attempts to paraphrase Shakespeare's poetry seem awkward, particularly when juxtaposed with the author's own haunting and evocative prose. Still, readers familiar with Hamlet will be fascinated with this retelling. --School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

In this update of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the students and faculty of Elsinore Academy are reeling from the tragic death of the beloved headmaster. Sixteen-year-old Ophelia feels the loss keenly, as the elder Hamlet was more like a father to her than the overprotective but aloof Polonius, who fears that Ophelia's ability to hear the bean sidhe and other spirits that roam the school's estate will drive her mad. Ophelia's intense relationship with Dane, the headmaster's grieving son, grows increasingly toxic, particularly on his uncle Claudius. Hutchison doesn't stray a step from the original plotline; despite the modern setting, this remains a Shakespearean world, especially for the women, as they are each defined and ruled by the whims of the men around them for better or for worse. The viewpoint of Ophelia, who narrates throughout, is particularly telling, as she reserves much of her sympathy and emotion for Dane but observes herself in coldly clinical terms: a bruise left by one of Dane's many rages, for example, is not so much a source of pain but a 'souvenir of fury and loss.' She nonetheless remains likable, and indeed, all the characters, even Dan and Claudius, have redeeming moments--something that makes Hutchison's ability to reveal how each of these people are complicit in their own misery an even more impressive feat. The language here is appropriately dramatic and ornate, although a few of the extended metaphors become a bit repetitive. This has obvious use as a supplemental material in a Shakespeare unit, but it is also a vividly told, painfully sad tragedy that will make readers take a second look at the Bard. --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

-- "Journal"

In a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, debut author Hutchison sets the famous tragedy at Elsinore Academy, an exclusive private school that is burying its much-loved headmaster, Hamlet Danemark V. Most impacted by his death are his teenage son, Dane, and Dean Polonius' daughter, Ophelia. Readers of Shakespeare know the rest of the story, but just as the Bard adapted history to suit his plays, Hutchison takes literary license as well. This is Ophelia's story, full of her madness and passion that Shakespeare recognized but did not focus upon. She is obsessed with fulfilling her promise to Dane--to stay with him always--even as Dane's madness escalates and he becomes increasingly physically and psychologically abusive towards Ophelia. Readers will recognize snippets of Hamlet's most famous lines and passages, and Hutchison's detailed descriptions of setting and dress lend ornateness to the narrative that is reminiscent of the Renaissance. Yet the transcendent nature of Hamlet is artfully emphasized by the contemporary characters and setting, and the reality that far too many young women are prone to Ophelia's love-besotted mistake. --Booklist

-- "Journal"