I, Iago by Nicole Galland | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
I, Iago: A Novel

I, Iago: A Novel

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by Nicole Galland
     
 

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“Nicole Galland is exceptionally well versed in the fine nuances of storytelling.”
St. Petersburg Times

“Galland has an exceptional gift.”
—Neal Stephenson

The critically acclaimed author of The Fool's Tale, Nicole Galland now approaches William Shakespeare's classic drama of jealousy, betrayal, and

Overview

“Nicole Galland is exceptionally well versed in the fine nuances of storytelling.”
St. Petersburg Times

“Galland has an exceptional gift.”
—Neal Stephenson

The critically acclaimed author of The Fool's Tale, Nicole Galland now approaches William Shakespeare's classic drama of jealousy, betrayal, and murder from the opposite side. I, Iago is an ingenious, brilliantly crafted novel that allows one of literature's greatest villains--the deceitful schemer Iago, from the Bard's immortal tragedy, Othello--to take center stage in order to reveal his "true" motivations. This is Iago as you've never known him, his past and influences breathtakingly illuminated, in a fictional reexamination that explores the eternal question: is true evil the result of nature versus nurture...or something even more complicated?

Editorial Reviews

St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
“[A]ttention to detail and humor keeps the novel both exhaustive and hilarious...Nicole Galland is exceptionally well versed in the fine nuances of storytelling and illustrating the combustible nature of mixing religion, commerce and war.”
Booklist
“A tasty fictional stew, mixing elements of twelfth-century culture together skillfully to produce a veritable reading feast . . . .The combination of vicious politics, mysterious doings, betrayals, and double-dealing, added to a leisurely but engaging plot, will keep those pages turning.”
New York Post
“[A] funny (really!) look at this disastrous Crusade through the eyes of a wacky Welshman, a pious knight and his half-brother and an Arab princess (who isn’t what she seems) they hope to return to her Egyptian home. It’s a raucous road trip set in the 13th century.”
Martha's Vineyard Times
“[A]t once an idiot’s guide to the tangled geopolitical landscape of 13th century and a clear and stern indictment of contemporary events...Thick with delectable historical details.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“A wallop of a first novel—entertaining and engaging.”
William Dietrich
“ THE FOOL’S TALE creates a vivid 12th Century world and three unforgettable characters whose lives entwine with war and politics, and climax in an ending as haunting as it is powerful.”
Geraldine Brooks
“An astonishing work of imaginative empathy, buttressed by deep research and enriched by lively storytelling.”
Peter Sagal
“This is a wonderful historical novel that proves that all people see themselves as the hero of their own lives.”
San Francisco Chronicle on The Fool’s Tale
“A wallop of a first novel—entertaining and engaging.”
More magazine on I
“The delights of this book, lushly set in Renaissance Venice, lie in Galland’s ability to take a series of tiny mistakes, deceptions and wrong turns and roll them into a juggernaut.”
Martha's Vineyard Times on CROSSED
“[A]t once an idiot’s guide to the tangled geopolitical landscape of 13th century and a clear and stern indictment of contemporary events...Thick with delectable historical details.”
Kirkus Reviews
Galland (Crossed, 2008, etc.) takes on one of literature's greatest villains and tries to make him sympathetic. For a large part of the novel--until the introduction of Othello when events from Shakespeare's play take over--she succeeds. As the fifth son of a Venetian silk merchant, Iago has limited prospects. His precociousness and his growing reputation for blunt honesty don't help in a society where insipid, phony etiquette is prized if not required. He spends his childhood getting into mild scrapes with his poorer, weaker friend Roderigo, whom he is always protecting, before his father enrolls him in the military. There he finds himself and excels. He meets Emilia at a Venetian masked ball and falls in love with her wit and intelligence even before he learns she is beautiful. Despite Iago's bouts of jealousy, theirs is a marriage of soul mates. Emilia remains his (and the novel's) heart and conscience to the end. Meanwhile the Moor Othello has been named General by the Venetian senate. When Othello and Iago meet at a ball, they immediately connect, recognizing that they are both outsiders who don't really want to fit into society, Iago for his mouth and Othello for his black skin. Othello makes Iago his ensign, an important promotion. After the battle at Rhodes, Othello suffers an epileptic fit and Iago covers for him. So when Othello falls for Desdemona, Iago is understandably hurt and jealous that he is left out of the loop as the romance develops with Emilia's help. Then an alcoholic, womanizing fop from Florence shows up; Cassio lacks Iago's military skills but because he carries secret letters between the general and Desdemona he gets the lieutenancy that should go to Iago. Resentment turns the love Iago has felt for Othello into hate. Although Iago doesn't really mean to kill anyone, he's not good at intrigue. Familiar Shakespearean tragedy ensues. Too bad the switch from empathetic protagonist into villain is not quite believable, because until then Iago and Emilia are magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062026873
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
370
Sales rank:
723,863
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.94(d)

What People are saying about this

Geraldine Brooks
“An astonishing work of imaginative empathy, buttressed by deep research and enriched by lively storytelling.”
Peter Sagal
“This is a wonderful historical novel that proves that all people see themselves as the hero of their own lives.”
William Dietrich
“ THE FOOL’S TALE creates a vivid 12th Century world and three unforgettable characters whose lives entwine with war and politics, and climax in an ending as haunting as it is powerful.”

Meet the Author

Nicole Galland's five previous novels are The Fool's Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed; I, Iago, and Godiva. She writes a cheeky etiquette column for the Martha's Vineyard Times. She is married to actor Billy Meleady and owns Leuco, a dog of splendid qualities.

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I, Iago: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Bookgobbler More than 1 year ago
I love it when my reaction to a new novel catches me by surprise -- and this one, frankly, knocked me over. How is it possible that reading story whose ending I know as well as Othello's kept me up all night reading because I wanted to know how it was going to turn out? Oh, I already knew what was going to happen -- as, I suspect will most potential readers. Most of us know the basics, right? General Othello and the lovely Desdemona are in love, Iago convinces Othello to become madly jealous, and the stage quickly becomes littered with corpses. So I was not precisely expecting to be astonished by the story. So why was I, Iago the proverbial book I could not put down? For a very simple reason: this retelling of Othello not only seduced me into liking the villain -- something I would not have thought possible -- but feeling by the tumultuous last quarter of the book that by having empathized with his increasingly warped sense of right and wrong, I had become enmeshed in his fate. Somehow, by not shouting no early enough to stop the inevitable, the story made me feel complicit in his plot. That's right: the reader is the unindicted co-conspirator here. How refreshing to have a novel take the reader's involvement and intelligence so seriously -- and to repay it so well. And to do it so subtly, thank goodness. At first, Iago seems merely sensitive and observant, a boy not born into a social class that would permit him the luxury of self-determination, but increasingly determined to set his own course despite a demanding father's demands (especially well-drawn) and a frivolous social order not given to recognizing real worth. He has to fight hard to remain honest, and it frequently costs him dearly. So when he begins to feel just a bit resentful of others' advancement, who can blame him? Why shouldn't he gain the wife he wants, the promotion he craves, the spot at the exotic newly-minted general's side? Shown through Iago's eyes, his wants seem so reasonable, even moderate, and his opposition so privileged that we cannot help but cheer him on as he navigates the complex world of Venetian military and social politics. By the time he starts to display enough sharp-edged jealousy to startle us, the reader is already implicated in what gradually emerges as a slow-acting, closely-observed madness from the point of view of the madman. Iago genuinely wants to believe he is doing the right thing as he continues to do more and more egregiously wrong ones. The thing is, his justifications remain insidiously plausible, right up to the point when not even he can believe what he has done. But by then, as in all great tragedy, self-knowledge can no longer save him -- or anybody else. The die is cast. An unexpected fringe benefit that friends of the Bard will love: this story is so steeped in the Shakespearean ethos that small hints of his other works seem to have been built into the very plaster of the ballrooms and steel of the swords. Here is an image plucked from a sonnet; there is descriptor reminiscent of Juliet. And could that possibly be a reference to Pericles, Prince of Tyre? It is, in a word, fun -- not word I generally associate with tragedy. If I have a critique (other than having lost sleep to this story), it's that I would have liked to see both Desdemona's very genuine wit and Othello's descent into overwhelming paroxysms of jealousy in a bit more detail. Why was this great mind so easily overthrown? But that's a minor quibble. As an established fan of Nicole Galland, naturally, I expected to be charmed by the writing, and I definitely was, but I have to say, I think this is her best book to date. She's a wonderful historical novelist, deft in her wit, incisive in presenting long-ago social dynamics, thorough in her research, and gifted at bringing a bygone era to life. If only I didn’t feel so guilty for having tricked the Moor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book. This surprised me because I am not a huge Shakespeare fan. But that did not matter and nor does the fact that everyone knows that Shakespeare's tragedies end tragically. Until the end, the book is vivid and alive with compelling, richly developed characters (and the city of Venice is one of them) and scheming and intrigue and Venetian politics and romance and humor. If Nicole Galland gave this treatment to all of Shakespeare's works, I'd read every one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprise, a sympathetic Iago. The authors use of the Venetian society as an excuse for Iago's rise and fall from grace puts this Shakespearian villain in a new light. The power of gossip is  theme that is still relevant today. The easy twisting of Othello's affection is still a bit of a mystery but otherwise I found this book easy to read and enlightening as to Iago's motivation onto his path of revenge.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was alright.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! Couldn't put the book down. I had no idea what this was about until I read the name Othello. I, however have never had the pleasure of reading or seeing the play. It is something I will pursue as soon as I read Ms. Galland's other books, if they are anywhere near as fascinating or wonderfully written as I, Iago then I know I am in for a wonderful experience. Ms. Galland, Thank You, Thank You and Thank you again for a riveting read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely worth reading! Even in the last pages, and even knowing how it would end, I was still rooting for Iago, who is classically the villain, and still had hope that the ending might come out differently than expected. That is masterful storytelling indeed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is the first book I have read by Galland, and now that I know what she is about, I've got to have more! Terrific storyteller and especially about characters we read in high school (Shakespeare) sometimes under duress! Highly recommend this wonderfully entertaining author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great turn on the classic! You never think of the villian's side of the story until you read a book like this. The characters really drew me in, and although the ending was bitter, i'd still read it again. It can be a bit boring at times, but overall an interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shakespeare without the iambic pentameter! Very very nice. Will read more of this author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this bok and was sorry when it ended. About 370 pages long with mild violence.
soulscater More than 1 year ago
you always hear that there are 2 sides to every story but how often do you get to hear the other side of the story? unlike with wicked, this doesn't really leave you with any sympathy for iago. you see him as less of a disgruntled social climber and more as a sociopath. i did like how the ladies seem a little less stupid than in shakespeare's version. great retelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicole Galland scores again with a fun, erudite and well researched read. This Shakespeare expert displays great creativity in both character and story development, exploring Venice and the environs at an engaging time. This psychological thriller is a worthwhile read on many levels.