Hogarth Shakespeare

Shylock Is My Name

The Merchant of Venice Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Publisher: Knopf Canada
The second book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series heralds the full-on 2016 anniversary celebration of Shakespeare: Man Booker Prize winner and our great chronicler of Jewish life retells the powerful, controversial story of Shylock.
In The Merchant of Venice, the merchant Antonio borrows from the Jewish moneylender Shylock, whom he openly despises, to help fund his friend Bassanio's wooing of the beautiful, prized Portia. Shylock agrees--but on the condition that Antonio promise in return a pound of flesh should he be unable to repay the debt. When Antonio's ships are lost at sea and it becomes clear he cannot, the case goes to court: Antonio must honour his promise--until an unknown lawyer (Portia herself, dressed as a man) arrives and brilliantly picks the case apart.
     Jacobson takes the great tale of vengeance and cruelty and propels it through space and time to the shiny modern world of Cheshire's Golden Triangle, where we meet a funny, love-driven, vindictive cast of characters very much from our world, confronting Shakespeare's timelessly urgent questions in the 21st century.


Shylock Is My Name does ample justice to the legacy of Shakespeare’s classic story of honouring a debt with perhaps the ultimate sacrifice. In writing it, Jacobson has also proved that his command of the art of storytelling is worthy of renewed praise.” —Bristol Post

“On the Jewish question, [Jacobson’s] oeuvre is illuminating, defiant, heartbreaking and hilarious. . . . One of the great comic-tragic writers of our times, he instinctively understands comedy’s dark underside and refuses to leave it unexplored. . . . [R]eading Shylock Is My Name undid me, reminding me of the irrefutable otherness that still manifests itself. It is a moving, disturbing and compelling riposte to the blithe resolution offered in the urtext.” —The Sydney Morning Herald

“A worthy reimagining. . . . Fans of the play will delight to hear Shylock himself answer questions Merchant aficionados have been asking for 400 years. . . . [T]he delights are many.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[Jacobson] is one of the funniest and canniest writers I know. . . . No pairing of author and play could be more automatically right than Jacobson and The Merchant of Venice. . . . Jacobson combines silliness with satire. . . . [A] clever and entertaining installment in Jacobson’s ongoing inquiry into what it means to live as a Jew in English, and Western, culture.” —Tablet Magazine

“[V]ibrant, inventive, precise, arresting, and full of memorable cadences and elegant modulations. Shylock Is My Name is a stunning achievement.” —The National

“Supremely stylish, probing and unsettling. . . . Jacobson’s writing is virtuoso. He is a master of shifting tones, from the satirical to the serious. His prose has the sort of elastic precision you only get from a writer who is truly in command.” —Irish Independent

“A brilliant conceit. . . . A powerful reimagining and reinvention of Shakespeare’s character.” —Adam Lively, The Sunday Times

“A master of serious-minded comedy, Jacobson is one of the greats of his generation.”Culture Whisper 

Shylock is My Name does ample justice to the legacy of Shakespeare’s classic story. . . . Jacobson has proved that his command of the art of storytelling is worthy of renewed praise.” —The Press and Journal

“It is delicious. . . . Jacobson is one of our finest writers.” —Forward

“[S]harply written, profoundly provocative.” —The Huffington Post