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Publisher's Summary

'Who is this guy, Dad? What is he doing here?'

With an absent wife and a daughter going off the rails, wealthy art collector and philanthropist Simon Strulovitch is in need of someone to talk to. So when he meets Shylock at a cemetery in Cheshire's Golden Triangle, he invites him back to his house. It's the beginning of a remarkable friendship.

Elsewhere in the Golden Triangle, the rich, manipulative Plurabelle (aka Anna Livia Plurabelle Cleopatra a Thing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever Christine) is the face of her own TV series, existing in a bubble of plastic surgery and lavish parties. She shares prejudices and a barbed sense of humour with her loyal friend, D'Anton, whose attempts to play Cupid involve Strulovitch's daughter - and put a pound of flesh on the line.

Howard Jacobson's version of The Merchant of Venice bends time to its own advantage as it asks what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world.

©2016 Howard Jacobsen (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What listeners say about Shylock Is My Name

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  • Kirstine
  • 09-14-19

Didn't grab me

I greatly enjoyed Margaret Atwood's re-working of The Tempest (Hagseed) and Jeannette Winterson's version of the Winters Tale (The Gap of Time ) in this series. Both cleverly re-tell the plays such that I could get the allusions to the original material. I found Shylock is my Name a tedious re-working that strayed far from the original and didn't hold my attention. It wasn't helped by the narration. I usually like Michael Kitchen's style, particularly for Robert Goddard books, but here he gabbled the text as if he wanted to get the whole thing over as fast as possible.

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  • NJ
  • 07-02-20

Superb

This is a really enjoyable listen. Michael Kitchen's delivery suits the story and character of Shylock to a tee.

The setting helped me a great deal because I used to live in the area and know it well. I enjoy Shakespeare done well and had been concerned about this series when I began with Jo Nesbo's MacBeth, despite loving the author. So far, I am really pleased that I took the plunge.

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  • Kate Fitzroy
  • 10-06-17

Powerful

A gripping and clever retelling of the well known play. Read at a great and intelligent pace.

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  • bookylady
  • 04-14-16

Great Story, Average Narration

Any additional comments?

I opted to listen to this book because I had really enjoyed the previous title in the 'Shakespeare Reimagined' series,which forms part of the Shakespeare 400 commemorations.

This particular book is a retelling of The Merchant of Venice, set in the modern-day 'Golden Triangle' area of Cheshire.

Two Jewish men, Shylock and Simon Strulovitch (a rich philanthropist and art collector) meet in a cemetery and strike up a friendship. Both have troublesome daughters and are mourning their wives for different reasons- Shylock's has died and Strulovitch's is bed-ridden and uncommunicative through illness.

Various situations, some comic, some serious, lead the men to examine the nature of fatherhood, what it means to be Jewish and how/when to be merciful. The author uses Shakespeare's device of a 'pound of flesh' in an unexpected way, and creates a cast of minor characters who are colourful, engaging and more likeable than either of the main protagonists.The story starts quite slowly and is not helped by the style of narration; but it builds up to a well-plotted and absorbing novel, full of humour and insights into the Jewish world and psyche. The second half is definitely better than the first.

I really could not warm to the narrator. His style really irritated me at times - he sounded sarcastic, even bored at some points. It was a shame as I really love Howard Jacobsen's writing.

I do not know much about The Merchant of Venice so I am unsure as to whether this version is close to the original or not. But it is definitely worth listening to, just as a stand-alone piece of literature.

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  • Daniel Stranger
  • 11-20-18

Unfaltable

A beautiful, bold reimagining of The Merchant Of Venice. Rich, engaging characters that portray excellent counterparts to the original. Great twist at the end - even if you know how Shakespeare ended it!