cover image Lunatics, Lovers & Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes and Shakespeare

Lunatics, Lovers & Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes and Shakespeare

Edited by Daniel Hahn and Margarita Valencia. And Other Stories, $15.95 ISBN 978-1-908276-78-0

This diverse collection presents a dozen stories, half of which are translations. In his concise introduction, Salman Rushdie links Cervantes and Shakespeare for believing that literature need not conform to a category; rather, “it can be many things at the same time.” These stories range far and wide, even in their connections to the two authors, though all of them are of high quality. Ben Okri’s “Don Quixote and the Ambiguity of Reading” places Cervantes’s hero at the center of a playful meta fantasy about his impact in literature. In Hisham Matar’s “The Piano Bar,” Cervantes pops up as an inspiration for the narrator late in the story. And Deborah Levy’s taut and compelling “The Glass Woman” seems to have no direct connection to either writer, though Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex figures prominently. Shakespeare gets the most conventional homage in Yuri Herrera’s “Coriolanus,” which transfers the titular Roman hero into a more modern governmental-corporate setting. The cheeky “Shakespeare, New Mexico” by Valeria Luiselli, about the small Southwest Reenactment Company, which dramatizes the exploits of Billy the Kid and his ilk, closes the book. This is a notable collection, with a welcome international focus. (Apr.)