Hamnet (Hardback)Maggie O'Farrell (author)
One of our greatest living novelists resurrects the short life of Hamnet Shakespeare, the Bard’s only son, in a profoundly moving account of grief, family and genius in an era where life was ever precarious.
Winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year 2020
Winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020
A stunning new departure for Maggie O'Farrell's fiction, Hamnet is the heart-stopping story behind Shakespeare's most famous play.
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; a 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.
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 644 g
Dimensions: 242 x 164 x 36 mm
‘O’Farrell’s remarkable book bursts with life. Her sentences are packed with commas, as though this teeming, sensual world can only be jotted down in gathered flashes.’ - The Sunday Telegraph
'Stunning. The writing is exquisite, immersive and compelling... deserves to win prizes' - Marian Keyes
'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
'Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it' - Sarah Moss
'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
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ReviewsView all Sign In To Write A Review
“A sublime historical novel...”
Hamnet is Maggie O’Farrell’s first historical novel set in 1596 and tells the story of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet who died aged 11. However, this is only the core of this heart-stopping tale.
O’Farrell is a master of... More
“Lingers Long After Reading”
In this emotive historical yarn, O’Farrell reconstructs the life and death of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet. Four years after his son's passing, he would write one of his most famous plays: Hamlet.
Hamnet is a... More
“A moving family tragedy”
'And there, by the fire, held in the arms of his mother, in the room in which he learnt to crawl, to eat, to walk, to speak, Hamnet takes his last breath.
He draws it in, he lets it out.
Then there is... More
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