Hagseed by Margaret Atwood (book review)


This book does contain adult material. Cursing and some of sexual references. Definitely not suitable for kids. This is adult fiction after all. I attempt to be very careful with the books I read. I didn’t find there to be too many of the author’s personal philosophies interwoven into the story. Though I realize, not putting your own philosophy into such a well thought out book is hard to do.

What’s the novel about?

This book is a retelling of the Shakespeare play, “The Tempest.”

Disclaimer: I was never really big on Shakespeare, so this was my first time hearing of the Tempest. I had to go back and do a bit of looking around. After doing so I understood a lot more about Margaret Atwood’s book. Of course, you don’t need to know the tempest before hand, but I’m sure it would deepen the experience if you at least knew a bit of the plot.

This is not a new book but was published back in 2016

Margaret Atwood, being Margaret Atwood, takes an interesting spin on this story. Of which I’ll elaborate in the discussion.

How is He Written?

This story is written in 3rd person, yet Margaret Atwood makes it feel as though you’re in Felix’s head. It has a 1st person feel to it. Her writing is rather reminiscent of Stephen King and Donna Tartt.

About the Main Character:

Interesting? I found the main character very interesting which is what carried me through this book. The way Felix chose to deal with his loss. The death of his wife and child made me want to find out more.

The way Felix sees the world is fun to read. He’s not a nice guy, but his theater background is used in his very colorful description of the world around him.


Is he likable? Not at all. But I don’t think that’s the point. His arrogant, flamboyance, makes him fun. But not in the same way other authors choose to make their characters likable. When writing a character you hate to love, authors often make that character do bad things for good reasons. Felix on the other hand is doing bad things for his own personal gain. Though, because of his age and maybe his mental disposition, I understand why he would go to the lengths he did to get his revenge.


The flaws, as said previously is what carries this book. For our main character, he knows he’s flawed and yet he feels like he needs his flaws to survive. He feels as though his flaws are no big deal and necessary considering what he’s been through. He embraces his flaws as a coping mechanism. Felix, I would say, outgrew his flaws by the end of the story. The way Ms Atwood writes the story, his flaws aided him in accomplishing his devious desires.

Can you identify with him?

For me, personally. I don’t identify fully. With this book I felt as though I was a deeply intertwined spectator of a very entertaining character.


This story did not have a well defined antagonist. The story starts out by introducing an antagonist. But after those few chapters, the story focuses on Felix, our main character. All the trouble he faced was mainly of his own doing.

Satisfying Ending?

The Tempest seems to show itself more towards the end of this novel. Then when it is all said and done you realize how beautiful Hagseed was written. It was certainly a satisfying ending. Not as explosive as others, but seeing Felix finally execute his revenge was especially satisfying. I like!

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