My Name Is Will
A Novel of Sex, Drugs, and Shakespeare
By Jess Winfield
(Twelve, Hardcover, 9780446508858, 304pp.)
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
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"Utterly delicious, original, witty, hilarious and brilliant. Shakespeare In Love on magic mushrooms. The Bard has never been this much fun."
-Christopher Buckley, author of Boomsday and Thank You For Smoking
A Tale of two Shakespeares...
Struggling UC Santa Cruz grad student Willie Shakespeare Greenberg is trying to write his thesis about the Bard. Kind of...
Cut off by his father for laziness, and desperate for dough, Willie agrees to deliver a single giant, psychedelic mushroom to a mysterious collector, making himself an unwitting target in Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs.
Meanwhile, would-be playwright (and oppressed Catholic) William Shakespeare is eighteen years old and stuck teaching Latin in the boondocks of Stratford-upon-Avon. The future Bard's life is turned upside down when a stranger entrusts him with a sacred relic from Rome... This, at a time when adherents of the "Old Faith" are being hanged, drawn, and quartered as traitors.
Seemingly separated in time and place, the lives of Willie and William begin to intersect in curious ways, from harrowing encounters with the law (and a few ex-girlfriends) to dubious experiments with mind-altering substances. Their misadventures could be dismissed as youthful folly. But wise or foolish, the bold choices they make will shape not only the 'Shakespeare' each is destined to come... but the very course of history itself.
As a founding member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Jess Winfield co-created the full-length show The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1987 and became an international sensation, leading to multiple world tours and engagements. After leaving the RSC, Winfield spent ten years writing and producing award-winning cartoons for the Walt Disney Company. He left Disney to write this, his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.