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The King of Infinite Space

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In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical physicist, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiancé Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father. Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is d In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical physicist, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiancé Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father. Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is dead—but by purpose or accident? The question rips him apart. Unable to face alone his mother’s ghastly remarriage to his uncle, Ben turns to his dearest friend, Horatio Patel, whom he hasn’t seen since their relationship changed forever from platonic to something…other. Loyal to a fault (truly, a fault), Horatio is on the first flight to NYC when he finds himself next to a sly tailor who portends inevitable disaster. And who seems ominously like an architect of mayhem himself. Meanwhile, Ben’s ex-fiancé Lia, sundered her from her loved ones thanks to her addiction recovery and torn from her art, has been drawn into the fold of three florists from New Orleans—seemingly ageless sisters who teach her the language of flowers, and whose magical bouquets hold both curses and cures. For a price. On one explosive night these kinetic forces will collide, and the only possible outcome is death. But in the masterful hands of Lyndsay Faye, the story we all know has abundant surprises in store. Impish, captivating, and achingly romantic, this is Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.


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In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical physicist, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiancé Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father. Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is d In this lush, magical, queer, and feminist take on Hamlet in modern-day New York City, a neuro-atypical physicist, along with his best friend Horatio and artist ex-fiancé Lia, are caught up in the otherworldly events surrounding the death of his father. Meet Ben Dane: brilliant, devastating, devoted, honest to a fault (truly, a fault). His Broadway theatre baron father is dead—but by purpose or accident? The question rips him apart. Unable to face alone his mother’s ghastly remarriage to his uncle, Ben turns to his dearest friend, Horatio Patel, whom he hasn’t seen since their relationship changed forever from platonic to something…other. Loyal to a fault (truly, a fault), Horatio is on the first flight to NYC when he finds himself next to a sly tailor who portends inevitable disaster. And who seems ominously like an architect of mayhem himself. Meanwhile, Ben’s ex-fiancé Lia, sundered her from her loved ones thanks to her addiction recovery and torn from her art, has been drawn into the fold of three florists from New Orleans—seemingly ageless sisters who teach her the language of flowers, and whose magical bouquets hold both curses and cures. For a price. On one explosive night these kinetic forces will collide, and the only possible outcome is death. But in the masterful hands of Lyndsay Faye, the story we all know has abundant surprises in store. Impish, captivating, and achingly romantic, this is Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.

30 review for The King of Infinite Space

  1. 5 out of 5

    fatma

    I don't even know how to begin reviewing this book, but let me start with this: The King of Infinite Space is my favourite book of the year, and, I'm quite certain, a new all time favourite book. The King of Infinite Space is, first and foremost, a book that is STEEPED in love. It's a novel that pretty much immediately won me over because it just has so much heart, and you can feel it radiating on every page. We follow three main characters, each inspired by a character from Hamlet: Ben (Hamlet), I don't even know how to begin reviewing this book, but let me start with this: The King of Infinite Space is my favourite book of the year, and, I'm quite certain, a new all time favourite book. The King of Infinite Space is, first and foremost, a book that is STEEPED in love. It's a novel that pretty much immediately won me over because it just has so much heart, and you can feel it radiating on every page. We follow three main characters, each inspired by a character from Hamlet: Ben (Hamlet), Horatio (this one is obvious), and Lia (Ophelia)--and I ADORED them all. More and more, I find myself craving books that are just about people trying to be good, to themselves and to others, and The King of Infinite Space is exactly that kind of book. Its characters feel keenly, love wholeheartedly, and they are so good--not flawless, but always trying to be decent, to be good to those they care about, even if they also inevitably hurt them. And something about characters who are just good gets to me, and god, this book GOT TO ME. I could cry just thinking about it. Also: Lynday Faye's writing is just gorgeous, brimming with personality and pitch-perfect dialogue. She absolutely sticks the landing with the big moments, but she also has such a deft hand with the little moments. Even scenes that aren't that important in the grand scheme of the novel manage to be moving, because there are always little lines that just stop you in your tracks, moments where the characters' vulnerabilities peek out, when they feel so much more starkly human. And more than just affecting, Faye's prose is also experimental, which I loved. This is front and center in Ben's chapters, where paragraphs break off into verse lines in different fonts and font sizes. In a different author's hands it might've come off as tacky, maybe, but in Faye's it just amplifies Ben's emotions that much more, as though prose isn't enough to convey the sheer depth of his feelings. As for plot, there is, of course, the Shakespearean element: this is primarily a Hamlet retelling, but it also includes other Shakespeare-inspired elements and characters. But more than just repeating the Hamlet plot with a bit of variation, Faye takes its themes and ideas and breathes new life into them. Hamlet's obsession with death and existence becomes Ben's fascination with--and graduate degree in--the philosophy of physics. Hamlet's soliloquies become musings on time and supernovas and entropy, and beautiful musings at that. And Ben's interest in science is not just some flimsy quirk of his; it fundamentally informs the way he thinks about and approaches the world. And it's also why he's one of the most compelling and captivating characters I've read about all year. More than anything, though, The King of Infinite Space is a love story through and through; love that, as Newton would have it, cannot be created or destroyed, but love that only changes forms, because it is "everywhere and everywhen," in Ben's words; these characters will always care about each other, their love for each other runs that deep. Anyway, I fucking adored this book, and I can't wait to reread it over and over again.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Take it from one who is much more familiar with Macbeth, one needn't know their Hamlet frontwards and back in order to enjoy this. "I'll tell myself that everything that ever has happened still exists if you look at Time from outside of Time. And so that day you wanted to watch the sun set from the fire escape, and after we undressed each other we left rusty handprints everyplace, that slice of time is always happening. Just somewhere we could only visit the once." Take it from one who is much more familiar with Macbeth, one needn't know their Hamlet frontwards and back in order to enjoy this. "I'll tell myself that everything that ever has happened still exists if you look at Time from outside of Time. And so that day you wanted to watch the sun set from the fire escape, and after we undressed each other we left rusty handprints everyplace, that slice of time is always happening. Just somewhere we could only visit the once."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Cerebral (what else would we expect any riff on Hamlet to be?!) but takes a brisk pace that keeps you trucking right along. Faye pulls off a great feat in that she manages to deliver plot twists that are genuinely surprising, despite this being classed a "retelling." Recommend: For hardcore academic lit lovers and page-turner-y mystery lovers alike. Cerebral (what else would we expect any riff on Hamlet to be?!) but takes a brisk pace that keeps you trucking right along. Faye pulls off a great feat in that she manages to deliver plot twists that are genuinely surprising, despite this being classed a "retelling." Recommend: For hardcore academic lit lovers and page-turner-y mystery lovers alike.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Castille

    A modern retelling of Hamlet, set in the New York City theatre scene, with witchcraft and ethnic and sexual diversity? As someone with a B.A. in English (with an emphasis in Shakespearean Literature) and a Master's in Creative Writing from Oxford, I'd say I am the bullseye of the target demographic for this book, and it did not disappoint. Faye is a brilliant writer, playing with form and combining prose and poetry, weaving in original Shakespearean quotes and borrowing from other authors to pro A modern retelling of Hamlet, set in the New York City theatre scene, with witchcraft and ethnic and sexual diversity? As someone with a B.A. in English (with an emphasis in Shakespearean Literature) and a Master's in Creative Writing from Oxford, I'd say I am the bullseye of the target demographic for this book, and it did not disappoint. Faye is a brilliant writer, playing with form and combining prose and poetry, weaving in original Shakespearean quotes and borrowing from other authors to provide a commentary at the start of each chapter. It would be so tempting to get lost in the existential meanderings of good old Hamlet, aka Benjamin Dane-- whose "brain operates as part philosopher, part scientist, and part torture device. But Faye balances his masturbatory intellectualism by splitting the narrative into three points of view: that of Benjamin, (Ophe)Lia, and Horatio, who is reimagined as the strapping, equally intellectual, but more personable lover of our hero. Like his literary predecessor, Benjamin is adrift after losing his father, searching for meaning amongst life's slings and arrows. He frequently waxes on larger themes, including time, religion ("God is chaos before it reaches uniformity"), family, loyalty, and death. Like most millennials, no one truly 'gets' Benjamin, or at least he feels as if that's the case, aside from his friend Horatio and his former fiancé, Lia, who is conspicuously absent from his life. Usually, I struggle to connect with stories that are primarily focused on men, but here, that was not an issue. In fact, I found the weakest part of the novel to be the storyline with Lia, the three weird sisters, and Robin. Interestingly, this is all the stuff that was made up outside of Hamlet (slash brought in from other Shakespearean works), so perhaps that explains why it feels tacked on and mostly irrelevant, or at least unnecessary, here. This is my first foray into Lyndsay Faye's works, and I will most definitely be looking to read more of her work in the future.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    After a bit of a slow start I flew through this audiobook! i kept trying to see the parallels and influence of Hamlet and I was not disappointed. They were readily evident and quite clever! I absolutely loved Lia's sections and the three witchy sisters were just delightful. There was a big twist that I should have seen coming since I am very familiar with Hamlet but somehow it surprised me. We all know the sad carnage at the end of Hamlet so I was expecting a similar bleak ending but this story After a bit of a slow start I flew through this audiobook! i kept trying to see the parallels and influence of Hamlet and I was not disappointed. They were readily evident and quite clever! I absolutely loved Lia's sections and the three witchy sisters were just delightful. There was a big twist that I should have seen coming since I am very familiar with Hamlet but somehow it surprised me. We all know the sad carnage at the end of Hamlet so I was expecting a similar bleak ending but this story was a bit of a different view. Despite being strongly based on the well known play this story held more than a few surprises and managed to make a depressing story almost fun. It is still a tragedy of course but was unique enough that it didn't feel predictable. I listened to the audio version and all of the narrators were excellent. I highly recommend the audio format for this one!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mer Mendoza (Merlyn’s Book Hoard)

    Rocking a strong first line: “Lia never knows when she’ll appear in one of Benjamin’s nightmares.” And there you are, dropped straight into the burnedout husk of a dreamscape and a vividly magical world. We meet Lia while she is caught in someone else’s dream, in someone else’s mind and arguing “Benjamin, change topics, or I swear I’m going to walk away and keep walking till I—I have no idea. Fall out of your ear.” And you know this isn’t going to be a straightforward story, and you know that yo Rocking a strong first line: “Lia never knows when she’ll appear in one of Benjamin’s nightmares.” And there you are, dropped straight into the burnedout husk of a dreamscape and a vividly magical world. We meet Lia while she is caught in someone else’s dream, in someone else’s mind and arguing “Benjamin, change topics, or I swear I’m going to walk away and keep walking till I—I have no idea. Fall out of your ear.” And you know this isn’t going to be a straightforward story, and you know that you’ll have to question what’s real, but you get dropped off the deep end quick and you’ll need to find your suspension of disbelief quickly or you’ll drown. “And we might weave half the tapestry, Robin the other half. But ain’t no weaver alive as knows exactly what it’ll look like hanging on the wall. No matter how many times they’ve settled themselves down at a loom. Endings have a mind of their own.” This is an amazingly strong adaptation of Hamlet, strong enough to work well as a stand-alone and clever enough that I suspect it will hold up well to multiple re-readings. About a third of the way in, the bad English major in me (the one who repeatedly only pretended to read Hamlet when it was assigned for a class; I think maybe 3 times, at least), actually got inspired to dig out my neglected copy of the Shakespeare play and finally give it a proper read-through (I may not have ever fully read it, but you don’t get through multiple college Shakespeare courses without knowing the plot or the famous lines, but do you really *know* it that way?). And then I went a step further and devoured Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, for good measure (another prior casualty of my too busy undergrad schedule). I was in the Hamlet ZONE, ready and primed to continue enjoying the adaptation in this book. But then, I suffered a loss. I have spent every week since November of 2020 at the veterinarian, trying desperately to save my little dog’s life. On July 19th, cancer got the best of him. Emotionally, it got the best of me too. Oh he was a dog and not a parent, but he was my family all the same. I needed a little space to grieve, and at that moment this book was too much for me. You can’t have Hamlet in any form without musings on mortality, and you’ll get that here for sure – as Ben observes, “sometimes processing grief is a bullet train going in a circle to no place” I needed a bit of time to race around in circles for a bit while I tried to figure out what I do next—how do you move forward from a loss you spent so much effort to avoid? I lived in that parking lot at the veterinary oncology center for hours every week, for months on end, and now I find myself launched into movement again but with no direction anymore. No goal. No destination. It took me a few weeks to pick this book back up again. I’m glad I did. This book held my attention and in a way it seemed to hold my hand as I worked my way through my own grief. My eBook is practically littered with highlights—nearly every page offers some clever remark or poignant insight into family or love or loss. This book is special. “Maybe time really is a flat circle. He’s on a merry-go-round in a hell he doesn’t even believe in.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    There are certain stories I love reading or watching over and over again in different versions: • Medea (the folktale of La Llorona has a similar plot with a different context, but familiar results https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Llorona ) (there's also the hilarious queer take on La Llorona by Monica Palacios https://www.academia.edu/897332/La_Ll... ) • Faust (David Mamet's play Faustus is my fave https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustus... ); • Frankenstein (the National Theatre's 2011 production There are certain stories I love reading or watching over and over again in different versions: • Medea (the folktale of La Llorona has a similar plot with a different context, but familiar results https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Llorona ) (there's also the hilarious queer take on La Llorona by Monica Palacios https://www.academia.edu/897332/La_Ll... ) • Faust (David Mamet's play Faustus is my fave https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustus... ); • Frankenstein (the National Theatre's 2011 production, which one can still find in movie theatres and and via National Theatre at Home, is remarkable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmkQH.... ) I feel the same way about a number of Shakespeare's plays • Macbeth • King Lear • Richard III And, not surprisingly, • Hamlet I just love that upbeat material... So when I realized Lindsay Faye—a very fine writer, indeed—had her own take on the story of Hamlet, I couldn't wait to read it. Let me tell you, The King of Infinite Space is a remarkable book. Faye plays in productive ways with the original. Horatio is in love with Ben (Faye's version of Hamlet); Lia (Faye's Ophelia) is an avant-garde artist doing installations using horticulture. Faye also ropes in her version of other characters from Shakespeare's plays, including the three weird sisters (Macbeth, anyone?) and Robin Goodfellow (Faye's Puck). The mix of "variations on" and completely new elements is delightful. Anyone who loves Hamlet is going to love The King of Infinite Space. Enough of the novel's action follows Shakespeare's script that it has the comfort of familiarity, but there are lots of unexpected surprises along the way—"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" type surprises. The language is pin-sharp. Faye really nails and shares the inner lives of these characters. There's enough menace, absurdness, and humor to make The King of Infinite Space an enjoyable read for those who have never picked up any of Shakespeare's plays. This is a title you don't want to to miss! I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss; the opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Rating: 2.75, rounded up I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Lindsay Faye's previous books, but this one just did not work for me. It's billed as a "lush, magical, queer and feminist retake on Hamlet in modern-day New York," and features "neurotypical philosopher" Ben Dane, his best friend and lover Horatio, and his former fiance Lia as he investigates mysterious circumstances surround his father's death. The Macbeth witches also make an appearance as three mystical florists from New Orleans. It's b Rating: 2.75, rounded up I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Lindsay Faye's previous books, but this one just did not work for me. It's billed as a "lush, magical, queer and feminist retake on Hamlet in modern-day New York," and features "neurotypical philosopher" Ben Dane, his best friend and lover Horatio, and his former fiance Lia as he investigates mysterious circumstances surround his father's death. The Macbeth witches also make an appearance as three mystical florists from New Orleans. It's been at least 50 years since I read Hamlet, so I'm sure many of the parallels were lost on me. Still, I was able to pick up the plot line and chronology of the story, mostly. But the weird blend of philosophy, quantum mechanics, physics, and math spouted by the characters (mostly Ben), the underlying stream of mysticism and magic surrounding the witches, and the constant playing with fonts and type weight and poetic interruptions left me irritated, confused and bored rather than drawing me in. I found them intrusive rather than creative. I sloughed through the whole thing because I have enjoyed this writer so much in the past; in retrospect, I should have quit early on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    I’ve never liked Hamlet, and yet, I find that I really like retellings of the play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead made me laugh and sparked a love of metafiction. I adore the first season of Slings and Arrows. But none of these Hamlets has left me as emotionally devastated as Lindsay Faye’s The King of Infinite Space. This astonishingly beautifully and wittily written version of the story, which transplants the story to modern New York City, softens Hamlet’s pretensions by giving him a b I’ve never liked Hamlet, and yet, I find that I really like retellings of the play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead made me laugh and sparked a love of metafiction. I adore the first season of Slings and Arrows. But none of these Hamlets has left me as emotionally devastated as Lindsay Faye’s The King of Infinite Space. This astonishingly beautifully and wittily written version of the story, which transplants the story to modern New York City, softens Hamlet’s pretensions by giving him a better sense of humor while keeping the intellectual depth and complicated relationships. Faye also does utterly brilliant things with minor characters from Hamlet and other plays that had me marveling at her originality. This is one of the best books I can remember reading. I loved every page... Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.

  10. 4 out of 5

    moony ☽

    "Modern retelling of Hamlet". I don't need anything else to press that "want to read" button. "Modern retelling of Hamlet". I don't need anything else to press that "want to read" button.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    I enjoyed this better than I thought I would, skeptical of a "modern-day retelling of Hamlet." But it was well-written for the most part. But good lord, the audiobook was difficult. I can't blame Benjamin's narrator for reading his chapters as written, but when that includes RANDOM SHIFTS i n s p e e d a n d V O L L L L L L L U U U U U M E E E E E, not to mention passages that include sections like "clickclick tick click click clock ticktock click clock clickclick click clock ticktick tock click I enjoyed this better than I thought I would, skeptical of a "modern-day retelling of Hamlet." But it was well-written for the most part. But good lord, the audiobook was difficult. I can't blame Benjamin's narrator for reading his chapters as written, but when that includes RANDOM SHIFTS i n s p e e d a n d V O L L L L L L L U U U U U M E E E E E, not to mention passages that include sections like "clickclick tick click click clock ticktock click clock clickclick click clock ticktick tock clickclickclick clock click click click clickclick click clickclick click tockclick click click click click clock clickclick tock click click click tick click tock tick tock click" which the narrator dutifully reads in their entirety, it combines to make one of the most annoying friggin' characters I've ever listened to. By the end of the book I absolutely hated the sulky brat. But the Lia chapters were really great, and Horatio was fine, so overall it was a fine read. Just... maybe stick to the ebook/physical book version.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ray Palen

    Lyndsay Faye is one of the most intelligent and versatile writers working today and never before have her immense talents been on display than in the artsy, colorful, and brilliant THE KING OF INFINITE SPACE. This novel, for those not in the know, is a modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare’s HAMLET and the references or ‘Easter eggs’ that allude to that masterwork are scattered throughout the pages providing the reader with a scavenger hunt of the tallest order. Do you need to be fluent in Lyndsay Faye is one of the most intelligent and versatile writers working today and never before have her immense talents been on display than in the artsy, colorful, and brilliant THE KING OF INFINITE SPACE. This novel, for those not in the know, is a modern-day retelling of William Shakespeare’s HAMLET and the references or ‘Easter eggs’ that allude to that masterwork are scattered throughout the pages providing the reader with a scavenger hunt of the tallest order. Do you need to be fluent in Shakespeare’s HAMLET to enjoy THE KING OF INFINITE SPACE? No, but it would definitely help because Lyndsay Faye most certainly is, and she has so many juicy tidbits to share with those who are aware of them. What sets this novel apart, and also makes it more efficient to absorb, is the Dramatis Personae list at the onset which you will continually flip back and forth to as you encounter all the many colorful characters within these pages. Speaking of characters, each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person and there are several who we get to enjoy time with. The first person we meet is Lia, the ex-girlfriend of our protagonist Ben Dane. I love the opening set of lines from this novel, as extracted from the mind of Lia: “Lia never knows when she’ll appear in one of Benjamin’s nightmares. But since it’s started happening, they tend to meet in the charred shell of the original World’s Stage Theatre, the smoke hanging as solid as proscenium curtains.” Terrific imagery there as well as the double-entendre shout-out to Shakespeare with both his famous “all the world’s a stage” quote as well as reference to the Globe Theatre in London where his plays were originally performed. Ben Dane’s life has changed since the death of his Broadway theatre baron father and the destruction of the World’s Stage Theatre --- but he has learned to carry on. Carrying on, however, will include getting revenge and seeking answers to questions like --- was his father murdered? Assisting him in this endeavor is his best friend/lover, Horatio Patel, who has returned from the U.K. to support his friend who is not only grieving the loss of his father but also questioning the new union of his mother, Trudy, who has shockingly married Ben’s Uncle --- his father’s brother --- Claude. Inertia doesn’t stand a chance against Ben’s resolve, and he will get to the bottom of his recent family upheaval. Ben harasses Detective Fortuna to re-open his father’s case to prove that it was not suicide but homicide that took him away. The chapter’s belonging to Lia are a refreshing break as we get to see her working at the floral boutique run by the extremely weird trio of sisters: Mam’zelle, Moma, and Maw-Maw --- extra points to those who recognize the reference to the three witches from Shakespeare. These chapters also continually refer to various types of flowers and a definition of what they represent. There is enough symbolism here to keep your mind spinning for hours. Other bits of symbolic reference include the two annoying Marlowe twins who Ben went to Columbia University with. Many people may not be aware of the old rumors that Shakespeare was not actually responsible for writing any of his own work and that it was the product of one of his contemporaries --- Christopher Marlowe. Touché, Ms. Faye! Another character that Ben and Horatio interact with is the wormy little Robin Goodfellow --- named appropriately for the narrator/protagonist of William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The story is full of plot twists, and one is major and will shock you. What I enjoyed most is, as the narrative moves forward, the creative liberties Faye takes in putting each chapter together gets more and more colorful with fonts, style, and the physical appearance of the story stretching the boundaries we usually expect from a typical novel and keeps things fun and quirky throughout. Will Ben Dane get all his questions answered? The quick and dirty answer is it doesn’t really matter. I believe Lyndsay Faye’s intention here was for enjoyment of the journey rather than the destination and the result is a novel that is as much fun to read as it is to fully immerse yourself in. Bravo, Ms. Faye! Reviewed by Ray Palen for Book Reporter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rowan

    I am floored. Absolutely, utterly floored. This was riveting. This was entirely unique to me in the way it was written and the narrative structure. I don't even know if I have the words for this. It was beautiful and sad and haunting and, as a re-imagination of Hamlet, it was completely brilliant. This is the first book by Lynsday Faye that I've read, but I'm putting their other books on my TBR list, because this was just . . . unbelievable. This will require a second read from me, but I know it w I am floored. Absolutely, utterly floored. This was riveting. This was entirely unique to me in the way it was written and the narrative structure. I don't even know if I have the words for this. It was beautiful and sad and haunting and, as a re-imagination of Hamlet, it was completely brilliant. This is the first book by Lynsday Faye that I've read, but I'm putting their other books on my TBR list, because this was just . . . unbelievable. This will require a second read from me, but I know it will stay with me forever. This, for me, is like The Song of Achilles, The Raven Cycle, If We Were Villains. Some of my favorite books in the world. The ending is shattering. Gut-wrenching. The story is unforgettable and devastating. I really can't properly process it, but this book is beyond what I was expecting it to be. The characters, the relationships, the dialogue and the plot. It's magical realism at its finest, a brilliant retelling of a classic that even might be better than the work its based off of. (And we all agree Dev Patel should play Horatio in the movie adaptation, right? Right.) Anyway. God. I need to read this again as soon as possible, and I know I will spend weeks absorbing this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Giordano

    I was given the chance to read an early release copy of The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye through NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam. I was intrigued by the unique story, the interesting backstory, and the different characters. One thing I love about certain novels is when the author uses multiple points of view throughout the book; it brings depth and layers to the story that unfold the more you read. There were moments that pulled me into the story, but mostly I was either confused or I was given the chance to read an early release copy of The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye through NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam. I was intrigued by the unique story, the interesting backstory, and the different characters. One thing I love about certain novels is when the author uses multiple points of view throughout the book; it brings depth and layers to the story that unfold the more you read. There were moments that pulled me into the story, but mostly I was either confused or bored. I wanted to enjoy the story more, but there were so many moving pieces and so many different aspects that it was too much. The mystical other worldly parts were interesting but they overlapped with the present moment and reality parts that you could not tell if you were reading a fantasy novel or if you were reading a mystery novel. I did not need parts of the story that unfolded; I think some of the fluff could be removed like Lia making a bouquet with the sisters for a woman who would attend the same gala for the theater that Ben and Horatio will attend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    First, I have to say, this just wasn't my thing. Someone else might love it. But it is one of those books in which people who are mentally or psychologically unstable are viewed as being charismatic and attractive. Also, other people's obsessions really aren't that interesting to other people. Horatio is obsessed with Ben. Ben is obsessed with his father's death. I felt as if I were immersed in everyone else's naval gazing. The book is structured as a re-telling of Hamlet with nods to other Shak First, I have to say, this just wasn't my thing. Someone else might love it. But it is one of those books in which people who are mentally or psychologically unstable are viewed as being charismatic and attractive. Also, other people's obsessions really aren't that interesting to other people. Horatio is obsessed with Ben. Ben is obsessed with his father's death. I felt as if I were immersed in everyone else's naval gazing. The book is structured as a re-telling of Hamlet with nods to other Shakespearean plays. Perhaps by default this makes personal events seem to take on cosmic meaning that, for me, they really couldn't support. My favorite parts of the book were the whimsical and fey maneuvers of the mythic characters the weird sisters and Robin Goodfellow and their interactions with Lia, Ben's former fiance, for whom I did have sympathy. The book is well written and, I guess, well constructed, but I just didn't care about these people and all the troubles they brought down upon themselves. A strand of plot about a serial murdering janitor seemed to go not much of anywhere.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mellen

    Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group for the ARC of this in exchange for my honest review. It has been roughly forever since I read Hamlet, so I remembered nothing about it. This felt really slow at parts, but I loved the friends to lovers vibes happening all over the place, and Lia was my absolute favorite. Her storyline and plot arc was the most interesting, and surprising to me, and it was the not Hamlet stuff, if my understanding is correct. The ending had me shook, I couldn’t tell if it wa Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group for the ARC of this in exchange for my honest review. It has been roughly forever since I read Hamlet, so I remembered nothing about it. This felt really slow at parts, but I loved the friends to lovers vibes happening all over the place, and Lia was my absolute favorite. Her storyline and plot arc was the most interesting, and surprising to me, and it was the not Hamlet stuff, if my understanding is correct. The ending had me shook, I couldn’t tell if it was really open to interpretation or I just missed the point, but I found it abrupt and unsatisfying.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Davenport Public Library

    An amazing retelling of Hamlet that puts just the right updates in just the right places, with lyrical writing and creative switches in viewpoint making a lush tapestry of the timeless tale. The Ophelia character, Lia, is particularly refreshing in this case as she's given her own voice, her own complex personality, and a surprising power over her fate and the narrative as a whole. Moreover, Faye leans into the complex and tangled relationships of Lia, Ben, and Horatio, seeming to make explicit An amazing retelling of Hamlet that puts just the right updates in just the right places, with lyrical writing and creative switches in viewpoint making a lush tapestry of the timeless tale. The Ophelia character, Lia, is particularly refreshing in this case as she's given her own voice, her own complex personality, and a surprising power over her fate and the narrative as a whole. Moreover, Faye leans into the complex and tangled relationships of Lia, Ben, and Horatio, seeming to make explicit things that Shakespeare left in subtext while showing the different forms and facets of loving someone. Ben's chapters, where Faye uses fonts and typesetting to portray neurodivergence from the inside, are also refreshing, offering the reader a glimpse inside the troubled mind that drives the narrative. Recommended for lovers of classic literature or folklore, skillful retellings, magical realism, yearning love triangles, and character-driven murder mysteries.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim Lockhart

    This novel impressed me on every page, and at every stage of the story. Yes, this is a reimagining of Hamlet, set in the modern day New York theatre community. Yet, it feels like an incarnation, a rebirth. IMHO, this is the best fiction of 2021. The writing is whip-smart, with crisp edges, which are softened only by interspersed finely-woven cosmological magic. The author maintains a gripping intensity throughout, creating the sensation of the story exploding forward with precipitous force. Buck This novel impressed me on every page, and at every stage of the story. Yes, this is a reimagining of Hamlet, set in the modern day New York theatre community. Yet, it feels like an incarnation, a rebirth. IMHO, this is the best fiction of 2021. The writing is whip-smart, with crisp edges, which are softened only by interspersed finely-woven cosmological magic. The author maintains a gripping intensity throughout, creating the sensation of the story exploding forward with precipitous force. Buckle up, reader.

  19. 5 out of 5

    J. Brendan

    Charming quirky retelling of Hamlet that is also a queer love story and a metaphysical mystery. Fun and intensely readable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Sinclair

    Shakespeare, sweeping romance, and Manhattan - three of my favorite things! Absolutely enchanting - Lyndsay Faye's characters always find their way straight to my heart. Shakespeare, sweeping romance, and Manhattan - three of my favorite things! Absolutely enchanting - Lyndsay Faye's characters always find their way straight to my heart.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Penrose

    actual review to come but oh my god. this made me want to fold glass into cardboard and eat it like a quesadilla.

  22. 5 out of 5

    C.E. DeWit

    Breathtaking and impressive. I love Hamlet but this is almost better than the original - certainly a great way to make it understandable and relevant to modern audiences.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sulagna Hati

    The synopsis for The King of Infinite Space drew me in - a queer retelling of Hamlet with a neuroatypical protagonist? Sign me right up. I'm a huge fan of retellings, especially when approached from a perspective that is uncommon or underrepresented in literature. I know firsthand what it's like to read iconic stories and see no one like you in them, so I'm here for the retelling/interpretation trend. It's so very important. Faye delivers on many of the promises that the premise offers, but ther The synopsis for The King of Infinite Space drew me in - a queer retelling of Hamlet with a neuroatypical protagonist? Sign me right up. I'm a huge fan of retellings, especially when approached from a perspective that is uncommon or underrepresented in literature. I know firsthand what it's like to read iconic stories and see no one like you in them, so I'm here for the retelling/interpretation trend. It's so very important. Faye delivers on many of the promises that the premise offers, but there were definite areas in which I struggled. All in all, it's a beautiful story with a lot to love, but could have benefited from greater focus and structure. Faye's writing in this novel is impressive. Her craftsmanship of character perspectives (this book contain three POVs, another plus point), imagery, and interpretation of Hamlet is very captivating. There were several poignant moments in which I actually gasped, and for a retelling, this story contains some truly heart-wrenching moments that manage to surprise despite an assumption of knowing "what happens". I was highly intrigued during the first chapter - it opens with a dream sequence which immediately introduces our key characters in addition to the vague magic that is present throughout the text. The magic is never really defined, but I'm okay with that in cases like this - the mystery helps contribute to as well as complement the existing tension from the plot. Lia's chapters were my favorite, especially due to the three sisters who you meet early on. They brought some much-needed spice to the story and I found myself looking forward to their scenes. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed many parts of the book, I found myself to be quite bored for the first half. It is a very dialogue-reliant novel when it comes to Ben and Horatio's POVs, and I found their interactions to get repetitive. I did appreciate the depiction of Ben's inner monologue as a reflection of his ADHD however since I am fairly neurotypical, I can't comment on how well that worked. Besides that, however, nothing was actually happening in their chapters, and they sometimes went on for far too long. And look, this is based on a play so the heavy conversation is not surprising, but I found myself disconnecting until Lia's POV. Additionally, there were a few plot lines that felt completely unnecessary/as though they were afterthoughts injected for the sake of heightened suspense. The entire janitor storyline, for instance, didn't really serve a purpose in my opinion, and I could have done without it. Sadly, these issues overwhelmed my experience, resulting in the lower rating that I've given the book. I would nonetheless recommend The King of Infinite Space as I'm sure the storytelling may be more appealing to someone else. It didn't quite work for me yet I still found myself loving parts of the book. Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I waffled between 4 and 5 stars, but because I'm already contemplating rereading this which I do incredibly rarely and I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time, 5 stars it is. I waffled between 4 and 5 stars, but because I'm already contemplating rereading this which I do incredibly rarely and I know I'll be thinking about this book for a long time, 5 stars it is.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bookteafull (Danny)

    UMMMMM a queer, feminist retelling of Hamlet set in modern day New York with some depictions of magical realism? SIGN ME DAFUK UP. In my excitement, I forgot the biggest red flag going into this: inspired by HAMLET. NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES OUT OF HAMLET. YOU KNOW WHAT COMES OUT OF IT? DEATH. ALL THE DEATH. I should have KNOWN better. I blatantly ignored the 'Hamlet-inspired' part in the hopes that this book would take a different turn lmaoooo - jokes on me. Faye slayed this re-imaging of Hamlet fr UMMMMM a queer, feminist retelling of Hamlet set in modern day New York with some depictions of magical realism? SIGN ME DAFUK UP. In my excitement, I forgot the biggest red flag going into this: inspired by HAMLET. NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES OUT OF HAMLET. YOU KNOW WHAT COMES OUT OF IT? DEATH. ALL THE DEATH. I should have KNOWN better. I blatantly ignored the 'Hamlet-inspired' part in the hopes that this book would take a different turn lmaoooo - jokes on me. Faye slayed this re-imaging of Hamlet from the characters to the writing style. She truly managed to maintain the essence of Hamlet - even in modern day time. The only reason I didn't rate it a full five stars was because I personally found Lia's chapters to be a bit isolated from the main storyline and not as engaging as Ben's and Horatio's. I found myself rushing through her segments and not really caring about The Sisters she was with. It just felt a little... too eccentric at times? Idk. I was also indifferent toward Robin's character. Oh, and the pacing wasn't consistent. It very much changed depending on the POV you were reading and I'm still unsure as to whether or not I enjoyed that narrative decision from a writer's standpoint. Lovers of story-retellings and Hamlet alike would get a kick out of this book! But again, it's HAMLET so you know there's death. Please have tissues nearby if you're a crier. Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with an ebook version of this story. Yet another awesome read urging me forth to purchase the actual physical copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

    I am so torn in writing this review of Lyndsay Faye's new book The King of Infinite Space as I have thoroughly enjoyed every book she has written. She is wonderful with historical detail and truly knows how to capture the spirit of a long-ago time and place. Her work has always been filled with fascinating characters I enjoy spending time with and fast-paced adventures that spark one's imagination. Until The King of Infinite Space. Sigh. I can't begin to write about my disappointment., Nothing ab I am so torn in writing this review of Lyndsay Faye's new book The King of Infinite Space as I have thoroughly enjoyed every book she has written. She is wonderful with historical detail and truly knows how to capture the spirit of a long-ago time and place. Her work has always been filled with fascinating characters I enjoy spending time with and fast-paced adventures that spark one's imagination. Until The King of Infinite Space. Sigh. I can't begin to write about my disappointment., Nothing about the story clicked - not the plot, nor the characters. It is a revisionist modern-day take on Hamlet set in New York City. Ben Dane (get it - Danish!), along with his best friend Horatio and ex-fiance Lia, is caught up in the strange events surrounding the mysterious death of his father, a Broadway theater baron. The weird sisters from the Scottish play make a delicious appearance but, as much fun as the Shakespearean references are, the book just didn't hold my interest, and I am sorry to say I didn't finish it. I read (or tried to read) an advance copy of the book courtesy of NetGalley and Penguin Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Set in the New York City theater scene being described as a retelling of Hamlet with sexual and ethnic diversity AND witchcraft! This book is a MAJOR must read for those in love with the classics and books that help you forget your surroundings. Faye nailed it when this was categorized as a retelling. In my opinion, so many books now are classified as retelling, but come up extremely short and are the BARE MINIMUM of that. Not this. Faye does such a beautiful job at not only tying in lines and p Set in the New York City theater scene being described as a retelling of Hamlet with sexual and ethnic diversity AND witchcraft! This book is a MAJOR must read for those in love with the classics and books that help you forget your surroundings. Faye nailed it when this was categorized as a retelling. In my opinion, so many books now are classified as retelling, but come up extremely short and are the BARE MINIMUM of that. Not this. Faye does such a beautiful job at not only tying in lines and phrases from classic Shakespearean works, but taking us through the weaving of classic and modern poetry. This is a beautiful work of art.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I didn't realize this was a Hamlet retelling until after reading it, so that endears me to it a bit more. It unfortunately just wasn't my thing and I struggled to finish it. Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I didn't realize this was a Hamlet retelling until after reading it, so that endears me to it a bit more. It unfortunately just wasn't my thing and I struggled to finish it. Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Allen Adams

    What prompts people to reimagine a masterpiece? Take the works of Shakespeare, for instance – for years, writers have been digging into the Bard and offering different takes on those classic tales. Sure, it makes a degree of sense; there’s a universality to Shakespeare’s plays, after all. If there weren’t, they would have long since faded into history rather than become a cornerstone of the Western canon. But, you know – it’s Shakespeare. If you’re going to fiddle with greatness, there’s not much What prompts people to reimagine a masterpiece? Take the works of Shakespeare, for instance – for years, writers have been digging into the Bard and offering different takes on those classic tales. Sure, it makes a degree of sense; there’s a universality to Shakespeare’s plays, after all. If there weren’t, they would have long since faded into history rather than become a cornerstone of the Western canon. But, you know – it’s Shakespeare. If you’re going to fiddle with greatness, there’s not much room for error. When your template is one of the great works of literature, you’d best come correct. I should note that I say this as someone who adores this sort of reimagining … so long as it’s done well. Lyndsay Faye has done it well. Her new book “The King of Infinite Space” is a marvelous exploration of “Hamlet,” a thoughtful, inclusive and provocative interpretation of the tale. Modern and magical, it’s equal parts thriller and love story, built on a foundation of the classic work while also freely and gleefully embracing its own uniqueness. Like so many of the best reinterpretations, the original is still there, but deeply changed; the core of the tale, the spirit that makes it so great, remains, even as the narrative structure around it becomes something new. Benjamin Dane is a brilliant young man, a scholar of the philosophy of physics. The power of his mind is such as to have its own gravity, drawing people closer to him even as he only allows a select few to truly enter his orbit. He is also grieving. His father Jackson Dane is dead by overdose; it is unclear whether the OD was accidental or on purpose. The elder Dane was staggeringly wealthy, courtesy of Texas oil, but he sought to conquer another realm entirely – Broadway. Jackson Dane’s World’s Stage Theatre is a place for challenging work; even as financial struggles mounted, Dane insisted on the theatre paying its own way without the aid of Dane family money. Benjamin’s mother Trudy has rather suddenly taken up with her late husband’s brother Claude; the two have already been wed, albeit in secret to avoid the potential scandal their quick turnaround might generate. Lost in his own head, Benjamin reaches out to the one true friend he has. Horatio Ramesh Patel has been living in London since a falling out from when the two were roommates, but he remains deeply devoted to – and perhaps in love with – his friend. Horatio rushes to Benjamin’s side in an effort to help him through this trying time. Meanwhile, Benjamin’s ex-fiancee Lia is working through her own issues, including a drinking problem that contributed mightily to the end of her relationship. She lives above a flower shop, serving as an assistant to the three strange women who run it; suffice it to say, the bouquets provided by this trio are unique. When evidence arises that causes Benjamin to question the narrative of his father’s death, he enlists Horatio’s help in an effort to get to the truth … whatever that truth might be. There are plenty of secrets in the shadows – secrets that desperately want not to be revealed. Meanwhile, Benjamin’s also in conversation with Lia, albeit only in his (and her?) dreams. All of it together leaves him confused, frustrated and paranoid, struggling to maintain a grasp on reality even with the steady, calming presence of Horatio by his side. “The King of Infinite Space” is precisely what I hoped for. Tackling the Bard – particularly one of the big ones – is a delicate task; for it to truly work, the author must create something altogether new while also holding onto the fundamental greatness of the source. Faye does that beautifully, giving us a compelling and haunting story that captures that spirit while also being entirely its own. The most incredible thing – at least to my mind – is that you don’t even need to know “Hamlet” to engage with and enjoy this book. Yes, there are plenty of references and allusions that will light up the Shakespearean synapses, but even those without that perspective will still experience a book that is mysterious and magical, driven by love and fear and introspection. “The King of Infinite Space” is still the story of our central scion, but in Faye’s hands it becomes a story about others as well. The agency granted to Horatio and especially Lia allows for this new narrative to branch off into something broader. Rather than staying constantly focused on the melancholy Dane, we get to experience the interiority of those close to him as well. That added perspective only serves to enhance the characterization of all involved; a rising tide that raises all boats. I assumed I would like this book – my affection for this sort of work is well-documented – but I had little inkling of just how much. This is the modern, thoughtful, queer, feminist literary take on “Hamlet” that I didn’t know I wanted until I had it. Lyndsay Faye has crafted something wonderful with “The King of Infinite Space” – to read or not to read isn’t even a question. Read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    tanvi gaur

    The King of Infinite Space Content warnings: murder, substance abuse, non-graphic sex, suicide, mental health Lindsay Faye does a wonderful job describing the setting and imagery of this modern day Hamlet retelling through the use of poetry and other literary devices. My favorite thing about this book was probably the beautiful writing; I got various great quotes from The King of Infinite Space. I also really liked how Faye included quotes and small poems at the beginning of each chapter- that’s The King of Infinite Space Content warnings: murder, substance abuse, non-graphic sex, suicide, mental health Lindsay Faye does a wonderful job describing the setting and imagery of this modern day Hamlet retelling through the use of poetry and other literary devices. My favorite thing about this book was probably the beautiful writing; I got various great quotes from The King of Infinite Space. I also really liked how Faye included quotes and small poems at the beginning of each chapter- that’s just something that puts any book automatically on my good side. Moreover, Faye really knows how to keep her readers on edge. Each chapter ended on a dramatic (but not overly dramatic) note that kept me hooked because I just had to see what happened next. The beginning scene itself started off on a bang because it immediately caught my attention and got me interested. Another one of my favorite aspects of this book is the inclusion of time and space (quantum) mechanics. Ben, the main character who obviously represents Hamlet, has a passion for quantum mechanics and time and space possibilities. There were multiple fragments of texts from Ben’s perspective that were about those topics, and they really gave me a sense of perspective and developed a new depth to the book and character. I genuinely think I learned more about the topic just from this book, even though it wasn’t a main focus. On to the characters- the book is written from the perspective of three people: Ben (Hamlet), Horatio (Horatio), and Lia (Ophelia). Their storylines all connect in a way that is revealed throughout the book. I love that the characters are not perfect- it honestly makes them a lot more relatable and interesting. Also, we get queer, neurotypcial, AND south asian representation in this book. Love to see it. Now I did enjoy reading Ben and Horatio’s perspectives and I thought they added to the plot, but I felt that Lia’s plotline often felt very irrelevant and pointless. There was this whole plot line with her and these three sisters, and it made me question where Lia’s story was even going. It also played on the fine line between fantasy and realistic, which made me a little confused because I couldn’t always tell whether it was all just figurative and I was misinterpreting it, or if it was just really confusing. Something I really didn’t like about this book was the pacing. The pacing was very inconsistent and somehow it felt like all the unimportant scenes dragged on forever and the big scenes were rushed. It caused a lot of confusion and, “Wait, what just happened?” moments. A lot happened in the end and there was a lot of death (if you’ve read Hamlet, you already know) and I was sort of just in shock the entire time because it all went by so fast. I’d say the book actually started picking up around page 230, which I believe is halfway-ish. Some parts were so confusing that I just had to go “fuck it, I’m gonna skim read.” This book was not an easy read- it required some focus. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing, just something I noticed. Overall, it was an okay book. I had to skim read because it was pretty difficult to get through, but there were a lot of really nice quotes in it and I liked the characters (especially Horatio). Do I recommend The King of Infinite Space? Probably not. I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone unless they tend to like books that require a lot of focus or are up for interpretation. Rating: 2.75 stars Thank you to Netgalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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