Book launch report and review roundup...

Thanks to everyone who came out to Powell's Books on a drizzly Thursday night for my reading and book launch party! We got quite a decent crowd, actually--about a 50/50 mix of strangers and friends/relatives, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. I'm sure the glowing review in the Sunday Oregonian helped with the turnout. Some choice excerpts:
"What if Shakespeare didn't realize he was Shakespeare, falling into his own story before he understood it was a story? [...] Hermes' counterversion of the "true" tale of Elsinore is based on a deep and perceptive reading of the conflicts and mysteries inside the play. [...] Hermes writes with insight and understanding about the passion of a man for another man, and of the difference between physical and emotional satisfaction. [...] She's imagined, most entertainingly, how such an astonishing artist might have come to be."
--The Oregonian

The critic who reviewed the book, Bob Hicks, enjoyed it so much he even showed up to the reading at Powell's and introduced himself. I was happy to be able to thank him in person--it's so gratifying, as an author, to know that there are readers out there who "get it"--not only on the Macro level, i.e., what I'm trying to say about Shakespeare by writing a book like this, but also get all those little in-jokes and references I threw in for my own amusement.

Mead Hunter also turned up, after posting lovely reviews of the book both to his blog and the Powell's website, praising its "dazzling sleight of hand" and "many rhapsodies." I'd only met him once before, at Wordstock, but recognized him right away, because he looks exactly like Gwenn Seemel's portrait of him.

Also in attendance were several old friends, including illustrious playwright and critic Steffen Silvis, my theater advisor at Reed, Professor Kathleen Worley, and my dear friend author Jemiah Jefferson, all of whom were early readers of the novel in manuscript. Another friend who has read more drafts than I can count, Molly Bauckham, provided beautiful incidental harp music during the reading, then broke out the sprightlier dance tunes during the after-party. Thanks to the staff of the Benson Hotel, who took care of our small but lively crowd who stayed to finish off the champagne!

More blog reviews this week:

Amy Steele calls the novel "...a witty romp of a tale..." awarding it 4 out of 5 stars, and concludes: "It’s such an original concept and Hermes carries it out well. Particularly for fans of Shakespeare, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is a winning read ..."

Misfit Salon says "If you are a Shakespeare fan in any measure, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes is certainly worth reading. [...]Hermes undoubtedly knows Shakespeare inside and out...[but] you need not be a Shakespeare scholar to enjoy this entertaining, multi-layered book."

Books are Like Candy Corn calls it "...a joyous ride, and one I suggest you take regardless of your sexual orientation" and gives the book a grade of A.

And the Literary Omnivore gives the book 4.5 out of 5 stars, concluding "...this prequel to Hamlet is filled with clever references, witty wordplay, and the marvelous Lady Adriane, carefully manipulating Horatio and his love for both Hamlet and herself. If this seems remotely up your alley, give The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet a try. It won’t disappoint."