Book review – The Great Night by Chris Adrian

The Great Night coverA Midsummer Night’s Dream
has been my favourite Shakespearean play since my teens, relishing the eerie setting, whirling otherworldiness and that wonderful sense of the uncanny balance between here and there – our plain, ordinary land and the realm of Titania and Oberon, and the unstable brink between childhood and adulthood.

So when I discovered the existence of The Great Night, a book that seems to be a direct homage to Shakespeare’s play, I was both reticent (how could they possibly do it justice?) and irresistibly intrigued.

Fortunately, author Chris Adrian is a masterful storyteller who seems to relish the original text as much as I do, and highlights, then subverts or enhances elements of that first tale. The fairies are of the primitive, undainty sort that more commonly populate our earliest fairytales, as likely to do terrible, unknowing wrongs as to grant wishes. Puck is particularly fearsome, Titania’s morals utterly fluid and often suspect, and nothing is ever what it seems for more than the most fleeting of moments. Continue reading