08 May / Dunbar [Hogarth Shakespeare] by Edward St. Aubyn [in Library Journal]
Narrator Henry Goodman self-righteously sputters, resignedly accepts, viciously plots, frantically searches, and plays especially well the Fool – all in the service of expertly, effortlessly voicing the latest in the Bard-updated-by-famous-contemporary-authors “Hogarth Shakespeare” series.
In Edward St. Aubyn’s (Patrick Melrose series) wickedly compelling, guiltily provocative adaptation, King Lear becomes media mogul octogenarian billionaire Henry Dunbar, who’s trapped in a Lakes District sanatorium with alcoholic comedian Peter as his closest company. His two older daughters have seduced Dunbar’s personal physician – with sadistic sex, multiple millions, and outright terror – into mentally incapacitating their father and falsely having him committed to make way for their hostile sororal takeover.
Dunbar escapes with Peter’s help but blindly wanders until he’s rescued by youngest daughter Florence, whom he once disinherited for refusing to be bullied into joining his rampaging empire.
Goodman’s expansive range showcases multi-generational dysfunction to create an aural masterpiece that surely does the good Bard proud.
Verdict: Libraries already attuned to the “Hogarth Shakespeare” will undoubtedly choose to continue to grow the series in all formats; others not yet committed might begin by investing in St. Aubyn’s irascible, irresistible megalomaniac.