Stories Retold

I’ve been busy lately writing/working on the yard now that it’s warm outside/reading research books, but I just finished reading an absolutely terrific new novel, The Great Night, Chris Adrian’s San Francisco-set, modern retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream. (I knew I had to read it when I came across a review that said “Events turn ever wackier, ever more sinister and seductive, as Adrian’s narrative spins outward from its Bard-based core to its near-hard-core bawdy apogee, in which both the mortals and the underworld fairies engage in phantasmagorically depicted sexual, familial, ancient, childhood, professional, and political debaucheries-cum-memories-cum-dreams-run-amok.” Also, that the modern “rude mechanicals” stage a musical-theater version of the movie Soylent Green. I was not disappointed.

Reading this book (and Diane’s classic-lit post yesterday) had me wondering what other modern-day retellings are out there. There are tons of movie reworkings, of course (like Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, the wonderful BBC “Shakespeare Re-Told” films, Bride and Prejudice, and, er, Gnomeo and Juliet), and I’m sure there are far more books out there than I can thinkof. But here are a few I found:

Jane Austen is big for this sort of thing. I really enjoyed Paula Marantz Cohen’s Jane Austen in Boca (P&P in the retirement community, where Lizzy is a retired librarian) and Jane Austen in Scarsdale (Peruasion in the suburbs, where the Anne character is a high school guidance counselor reunited with her girlhood sweetheart). There is Cathleen Schine’s The Three Weissmanns of Westport (Sense and Sensibility), and the YA novel by Kristina Springer, The Esperessologist (Emma as barista, who can match people up according to the coffeees they drink).

YA actually seems to have a lot of adaptation titles. There is (among many others) Troy High by Shana Norris (The Iliad as football rivalry), and many Shakespeare stories, especially ones based on Romeo and Juliet.

And there’s always Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, Virginia Woolfe’s Mrs. Dalloway in 3 interlocking stories.

What is your favorite adaptation, either book or movie? What story would you like to see adaptated to a modern setting–or what would you definitely not like to see??

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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