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The Times – Sept 20th, 2008

You gotta love a writer who opens his book with action hero lines and stage directions for Hamlet the Terminator (“shoots Polonius with an Uzi… lights his cigar, castle explodes”).

You can dismiss it as dumbed-down Shakespeare if you like, but Crystal starts and ends his short book of basic Shakespeare with the rule of thumb that the Bard never writes anything without a reason.

Neither does Crystal, whose lively, sometimes excitable, search for the reasons behind the words, lines, rhythms, allusions and stage directions adds up to a masterclass for modern beginners and old hands alike.

Iain Finlayson

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