Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763644512, 229pp.
Publication Date: August 11, 2009
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, but Hamlet can t be sure what's causing the stench. His rage at his mother's infidelities together with his greed for the sensual Ophelia and his dead father's call to revenge a "murder most foul" have his mind in chaos, and he wants to scatter his traitorous uncle's insides across the fields. But was it really his father's ghost that night on the ramparts, or a hell-fiend sent to trick him? "Action is hot," he tells Ophelia, who lives shut up in a tower with her longings and lust. "Action is courage, and reflection is cowardly. Picking up the knife has the colors of truth. As soon as I hesitate. . . ." In this dark, erotically charged, beautifully crafted novel, John Marsden brings one of Shakespeare's most riveting characters to full-blooded life in a narrative of intense psychological complexity.
Tomorrow, When the War Began was chosen in Sweden as the book most likely to inspire teenagers to read and over 100,000 copies have been printed for free distribution to young Swedes.
In 1998 Burning For Revenge was named the Australian Booksellers' Book of the Year, Tomorrow, When the War Began won the Bilby Award for Older Readers, The Dead of the Night won the Secondary Division of the ACT COOL awards and The Night is for Hunting was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards. In 1999 The Dead of the Night, The Third Day, the Frost and The Night is for Hunting were shortlisted for the Victorian YABBA awards, Tomorrow, When the War Began won the CYBER award, and The Night is for Hunting was shortlisted for the Australian Booksellers' Book of the Year. In 2000 three of John's books, including The Other Side of Dawn, were shortlisted for the YABBA awards, The Dead of the Night won the CYBER award, and The Night is for Hunting was shortlisted for the ACT COOL awards and won the WAYBRA award for Older Readers; the third year in a row that John has won this award.
John lists his favorite food as chocolate, his favorite color as yellow, his favorite writers as William Shakespeare, Margo Lanagan and Dave Eggers. His dislikes include high school math, most reviewers and lumpy custard.
"John Marsden has done what a legion of educators, my parents, a great number of my more literate friends and my read-anything-you-can-get-your-hands-on grandmother failed to do. He has made me, for one glorious moment, love Shakespeare. Marsden's version of HAMLET is smart, tough, lyrical, thoroughly readable and uncompromisingly engaging. Back off, Mrs. Phelps (my high school English teacher). I now get HAMLET." - Chris Crutcher — Quote