Nicole Galland – “I, Iago”

May be an image of Matt Brent, book and text

Today I finished “I, Iago” by Nicole Galland. I picked this up a few weeks back at the Green Valley Book Fair, because the title caught my attention. As a part of the grad certificate in English that I completed, I took a course on Shakespeare. Though I recall “Othello” from high school, in this course we did some major analysis of Iago and Othello’s relationship, playing close attention to just how deceptive Iago was. Galland’s book returns to the world of Shakespeare’s characters and gives us an in depth look at Iago. From his childhood adventures with Roderigo up until the final scene from the original play, Galland gives you an Iago you’ll love and then come to despise. The backstory she presents makes Iago human. His friendship with Roderigo, his courting of Emilia, and even his love of Othello makes Iago just like any of us, but his passion for promotion and his jealousy of Cassio turn him into a monster. Sure, you could get all of that from Shakespeare, but Galland adds a plethora of details, using Shakespeare as her guide, to present a rich story. Despite knowing what would happen, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In a way, it reminded me of Madeline Miller’s “Song of Achilles” and how the backstory and point of view of a secondary character can be brought to life. I’d definitely recommend this one, especially if you’re a Shakespeare fan!

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