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Hamnet

by Maggie O'Farrell

Family Drama Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction Star Books

LoveReading View on Hamnet

Glorious, simply and beautifully glorious! Inspired by Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, this is the imagined story behind the writing of Hamlet, which was written between 1599 and 1601. Hamnet and Hamlet were apparently “entirely interchangeable in Stratford records in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries”. Maggie O’Farrell says she wanted to write this story for over thirty years. “What did it mean for a father to name a tragic hero after his ( ) son. What was this unusual act telling us?” The cover design is beautiful, it called to me. On opening, I slipped into and fell in love with this tale. Hamnet has an almost otherworldly feel, and yet is as earthy and believable as can be. Two time frames sit side by side, Hamnet becoming ill in 1596, and then the earlier story of Shakespeare and Agnes meeting and falling in love. The descriptions became clear bright images in my mind. I could feel the words, they echoed deep inside me, creating pools of emotion. I cried on finishing, all the feelings that Hamnet created slipped out of me and trickled down my cheeks. I adore Hamnet, it now sits on my list of favourite books, and will be one that I reread each year. Chosen as a Book of the Month, LoveReading Star Book, and Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson

Hamnet Synopsis

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Hamnet Press Reviews

A staggeringly beautiful and unbearably poignant novel. O'Farrell is one of the most surprisingly quiet radicals in fiction - Scotsman

The novel of her career... everyone I know who has managed to get hold of a copy is absolutely in love with it - Observer

Richly sensuous...something special - Sunday Times

A bold undertaking. Beautifully imagined and written - Claire Tomalin

A beautiful read. A devastating one. Intricate, and breathtakingly imaginative - Rachel Joyce

[A] rich imagining of the lives of Shakespeare's family enchants... O'Farrell's remarkable novel bursts with life - Sunday Telegraph

Blisteringly brilliant... You'll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins - Cosmopolitan

Heartstopping. Hamnet does for the Shakespeare story what Jean Rhys did for Jane Eyre, inhabiting, enlarging and enriching it in ways that will alter the reader's view for ever -- Patrick Gale Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it -- Sarah Moss The story of Hamnet Shakespeare has been waiting in the shadows for over four hundred years. Maggie O'Farrell brings it dazzlingly, devastatingly, into the light -- Kamila Shamsie Stunning. The writing is exquisite, immersive and compelling... deserves to win prizes -- Marian Keyes -

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781472223821
Publication date: 01/04/2021
Publisher: Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781472223791
Publication date: 31/03/2020
Publisher: Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781472223821
Publication date: 1st April 2021
Author: Maggie O'Farrell
Publisher: Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Star Books,
Categories: Historical fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Maggie O'Farrell

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of seven novels, AFTER YOU'D GONE, MY LOVER'S LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award, and THIS MUST BE THE PLACE. She lives in Edinburgh.

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