Hamnet

WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020 - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER

    • 4.3 • 198 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER 2021
'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times
'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell

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 sudden 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 Hamnet will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright: a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

GENRE
Fiction & Literature
RELEASED
2020
31 March
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
352
Pages
PUBLISHER
Headline
SELLER
Hachette Australia Pty Ltd
SIZE
3.7
MB

Customer Reviews

rhitc ,

To be or not to be

Author
British. Born Northern Ireland, now lives in Scotland. Award winning novelist. Her last book, 'This Must Be The Place' (2016) was very good, as was her debut 'After You'd Gone' (2000). This, her eighth novel, is shortlisted for the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction.

Place
Stratford (upon Avon)

Time
The late 16th century

Plot
Agnes (aka Ann as in Hathaway) takes her herbs, potions, and child rearing seriously. In the 1580s, she and her playwright hubby (common law) Will settle down together and have a daughter Susanna, followed by twins Judith and Hamnet. Agnes and the kids live in what passed for a duplex back in the day, with her in-laws next door. Will spends much of his time in London or thereabouts, putting on plays and trying to avoid "the pestilence" (aka the Black Death). In 1596, 11-year-old Hamnet dies, cause unknown. Four years later the playwright writes what is arguably his finest work, which he calls Hamlet. (The spellings Hamnet and Hamlet were interchangeable in 16th century Warwickshire apparently.) In the late 2010's a British playwright sits down to write a fictionalised version of young Ham's death (of pestilence in case you were wondering) and it's aftermath. The end.

Characters
Agnes, the kids, the immediate family are all exquisitely drawn. Ms O'Farrell writes about sisters better than almost anyone, and does so again here.

Narrative
Third person, various POVs

Prose
Lyrical doesn't come close. If literary embellishment is your thing, it doesn't get much better than this. If it isn't, you might learn something.

Bottom line
Ms O'Farrell is a superb writer. Sadly, I'm not a fan of historical fiction of the Tudor period (I have yet to finish a Hilary Mantel book), otherwise five stars.

kimba2070 ,

Enjoyable reading

Thoroughly enjoyed this fictional account of the story behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Very well written - would recommend.

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