Mr B's review
O’Farrell’s richly detailed and lyrical prose illuminates the daily lives of a seemingly ordinary sixteenth-century family, turning the spotlight onto the wife and children of one of England’s most famous writers with a striking beauty and emotional intensity.
WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION – THE NO. 1 BESTSELLER
‘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.
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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