Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Scottish Movie by Paul Collis

The Scottish MovieLegend has it that Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is cursed. As such, the superstitious who work on the play will refer (and insist others do the same) to it as "The Scottish Play." Many have speculated as to the reason, but Harry Greenville writes a novel with his own explanation: the Bard stole the idea from someone else. Shakespeare's victim then sets out to exact revenge through sabotage.

Greenville, an aspiring actor living in L.A., makes the mistake of uploading it to a website where it is pilfered. When Greenville learns that his story is being made into a movie, he sets out to exact revenge of his own.

There's such a superb attention to detail here that I would swear that Collis worked on a movie set at one point in his life or he performed a mind meld with someone who did. Collis introduces us to the boredom of limo drivers, the humiliating subservience of runners, the brown nosing of the wannabes, and the egos of Hollywood's lords. But at no point does Collis resort to stereotypes. All of his characters, no matter if they're major or minor, felt real. And Greenville is a likable protagonist. While he's out for revenge, at no point does he turn dark. His antics are more of the prankster variety.

I do have two complaints though. Collis uses single quotes throughout the book for dialogue. When nested quotes arise, as in when there's speech within speech, Collis sticks with the single quotes so it becomes a bit confusing as to when the speaker stops. I realize that single quotes are preferred in the U.K., but then double quotes are required for quotes within quotes, no? There are also some POV shifts without any sort of transition so I got momentarily confused as to whose thoughts we were hearing.

I must admit that my favorite part of the book was the beginning when we're reading Greenville's story about how Shakespeare stole the idea for Macbeth. This section is a fantastic piece of historical fiction and showcases Collis's talent. I hope he considers writing something in this vein in the future.

For more information about The Scottish Movie, check out the author's website.

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