By Any Other Name

Ballantine. Aug. 2024. 512p. ISBN 9780593497210. $30. F
Bestselling Picoult’s (Wish You Were Here) latest intricately weaves topical, timely, and profound discussions of what it means to be heard at any cost, when to listen, and how to make room. In parallel timelines, two women playwrights struggle to be heard. Each must suppress her identity to get her work performed. In 1581, Emilia Bassano lives a frustrated life. She has no agency. and she must conceal her Jewish identity. She writes her pain, love, and rage into works of art forever attributed to William Shakespeare. In the present, Melina Green’s newest play, inspired by Emilia’s life and work, is submitted to a contest in this field still plagued by misogyny. In a Shakespearean twist of events, it is Melina’s fellow struggling playwright and best friend André who submitted Melina’s play, under a male pseudonym, in an attempt to give his friend a leg up. Picoult gives Bassano/Shakespeare a run for her money with this heartbreaking delight that deftly and soundly explores theories of Shakespeare’s authorship and Bassano’s history.
VERDICT Fans of nuanced social commentary, Shakespeare origin stories, and anyone open to giving space will enjoy this highly recommended book. Readers might even begin mentally amending “Shakespearean” to “Bassanian” after reading it.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing