Othello is the only minority member of the Department, so Desdemona, currently serving as Department Chair, is running an affirmative action search. A likely candidate reminds her of Othello in the old days, before he smothered her to death with a pillow; against her will, she develops a crush on the new guy. Iago gets into the act, stirring up mischief as before. Will it all end in tears once again? Read “Casting Call,” one of eight stories in Linda Bamber’s new collection, to find out. You’ll find yourself caught between laughter and suspense as you encounter these and other familiar characters from Antony and Cleopatra to Henry IV, from Jane Eyre to real-life American artist Thomas Eakins.
Linda Bamber has combined her love of fiction from the past with her propensity to shake things up, taking what she likes and gleefully sharing it with us. As entertaining and contemporary as these stories are, they also remind us what we, too, love about the classic texts she takes apart and reassembles. Bamber’s tales, like the best translations, exist independently while reminding us not to forget the plays and novels they treat. Alternating between admiration and attitude, the stories layer their plots with commentary, history, and politics, pausing as they build only to make room for the sanity and wit of the authorial voice. Emotional and genuine, these stories are also playful, inventive, and hilariously funny. From her long study of the Bard, Bamber has absorbed some of Shakespeare’s own empathy, understanding, and expressive flair. It is not too much to say that her work takes its place in the same literary sphere as the works it engages.
Praise for Taking What I Like
Like the best and most memorable teachers Bamber brings the past to bear on the present in ways that inform and exhilarate.