WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION – THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED AN POST BOOK AWARDS NOVEL OF THE YEAR
‘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 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.
What could be more common, over centuries and continents, than the death of a child – and yet Maggie O’Farrell, with her flawless sentences and furious heart, somehow makes it new — Emma Donoghue Hold on to your hats… a beautifully written story that explores a family’s loss and a marriage steeped in grief in the most extraordinary of ways * Stylist * Blisteringly brilliant… You’ll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins * Cosmopolitan * Incredible… transformative for the genre What could be more common, over continents and centuries, than the death of a child. And yet Maggie O’Farrell, with her flawless sentences and furious heart, somehow makes it new — Emma Donoghue 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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