Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbo – creator of the popular detective Harry Hole – is to rewrite of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In a deal announced today, he’ll be writing for the publisher Hogarth which is aiming to release a whole set of Shakespeare rewrites featuring top names from across many genres.
One of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies, the plot of the Scottish play comes complete with cold and stormy nights, bloody murder, madness and – just like the best Scandinavian crime fiction – the harsh weather seems to presage and underpin the violence.
Toil and trouble
“Macbeth is a story that is close to my heart because it tackles topics I’ve been dealing with since I started writing. A main character who has the moral code and the corrupted mind, the personal strength and the emotional weakness, the ambition and the doubts to go either way,” says Nesbo. “A thriller about the struggle for power, set both in a gloomy, stormy crime noir-like setting and in a dark, paranoid human mind.”
The book will not be a blow by blow retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, though. According to Nesbo he’ll be taking what he finds most useful from the story and crafting his tale. However, it will carry the title Macbeth.
Out damned spot
Nesbo’s Macbeth will come out in 2016, in time to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Alongside him, Margaret Atwood will retell The Tempest, Howard Jacobson The Merchant of Venice, Anne Tyler The Taming of the Shrew and Jeanette Winterson The Winter’s Tale.
Following the success of books like Phantom and Police, the latest in the Harry Hole series, there has been a flurry of activity from Jo Nesbo and his agents. Under the name Tom Johansen he’s writing a book entitled Blood on Snow due for release this year, and is also working on a standalone novel called The Son. While talk continues to linger about a Scorsese motion picture based on his book The Snowman, rights for the as yet unpublished Blood on Snow have already been snapped up by Warner Bros. Read more about Jo Nesbo here.