Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Samuel Park

A college dorm-mate of mine recently came out with a new novel...but before I started in on that one, I went back and discovered his first novel - Shakespeare's Sonnets.  Set at Harvard in 1948, this is a love story between two men - one who denies his sexuality to conform to society, and the other who thumbs his nose at convention and embraces that which could get him expelled.  The two meet in a class on Shakespeare, and together explore the Bard's professions of love in his sonnets.  While many scholars opined that Shakespeare wrote the poems to a mysterious lady, one of the men controversially argues that Shakespeare's muse was actually a young man.  The illicit nature of the romance had me holding my breath as I read the book - on the one hand afraid of what would happen if they were discovered, and on the other hand hoping that they would find happiness in the truth.  I was incredibly surprised by the ending - it wasn't one that I think would have actually happened in real life, but it was the ending that I wanted.  As an English major, I really enjoyed the exploration of the ideas behind Shakespeare's sonnets - and it made me want to do some independent research of my own to find out how much of the ideas in this book were based on fact vs. fiction.  It's been awhile since I've read a book that I would characterize as "literature" - but this one fit the bill.  I started it on a bus ride into work, and had to stop off in a park to keep reading.  It made me late to the office, but I just found the love story so compelling that I needed to keep reading.  I am excited for Sam's latest book, This Burns My Heart, which is set in the vastly different location of post-war South Korea, but is certain to be just as painfully beautiful.

No comments: