Caliban’s Hour (Tad Williams)

7104y-yZF3LFeb. 16, 2013
Review of Caliban’s Hour by Tad Williams

Originally published in 1995 (HarperCollins), the 2011 Kindle version of the book (The Beale-Williams Enterprise) is the one I picked up.  At under 200 pages, it’s a short novel.  But don’t let the size of this Shakespearean fantasy fool you.  Caliban’s Hour delivers Williams’s signature powerful punch.

You won’t find snappy dialogue in this book.  Almost all of it is a monologue spoken by the title character.  What you will find is beautiful prose and an enthralling tale.  And yes, it’s the same Caliban from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.  Williams does a masterful job of bringing readers, especially those who are Shakespeare fans, a believable character telling a believable story about other believable characters.  But, the story stands on its own, too, and readers not familiar with or fans of Shakespeare will still find the story engaging.

Williams invokes a setting more emotionally alive than that of The Tempest, and he paces the story in a way that places the pressure of time smack dab in readers’ laps.  The premise for the tale is imaginative, and the plot takes readers on an emotional journey that leaves them thinking.  Without injecting a spoiler, I’ll just say that I didn’t see the ending coming, and it was a doozy!

Two thumbs up for Caliban’s Hour.  I’m ever so happy Williams decided to publish this little masterpiece in digital form.

IMHO:  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Appropriate for YA+.  Could be used in high school courses (English, Drama) as an accompaniment to The Tempest.