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Hamnet is a 2020 novel by Maggie O’Farrell. It is a fictional account of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, who died at age 11 in 1596. It won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and in December 2020, Emily Temple of Literary Hub reported that the novel had made 15 lists of the best books of 2020. It was also longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
While little is known about his son Hamnet, Maggie O Farrell’s historical fiction novel is beautifully imagined and written. It’s the story of the bond between twins, grief and loss, and how a family copes after the death of a child. If you are looking for a happy little story, this is not one. If, however, you are looking for a story that is brilliantly written, with scenes vividly painted, with emotions so honest, and characters brought to life then look no further, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is just the right book for you.
Table of Contents
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell PDF Free Download Details
- Book Title: Hamnet PDF
- Author: Maggie O’Farrell
- Published: 31 March 2020
- Goodreads Link: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
- ISBN: 9781472223791
- Formats: [PDF] [Epub]
- No. of pages: 384 pages
- Size: 2 MB
- Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction
- Language: English
- File Status: Available
- Price: $0
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell PDF Book Summary
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley Street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, died in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.
A New York Times Notable Book (2020), Best Book of 2020: Guardian, Financial Times, Literary Hub, and NPR.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell Book Review
Review by Angela M from Goodreads
I have to admit that I was a little nervous going into this one for two reasons. I sometimes have a hard time with fictionalized accounts of real people. I’m always questioning how realistic they are and at the same time having to keep reminding myself that they’re fiction. Perhaps because not much is known about Shakespeare’s wife Anne or Agnes, her birth name, as she is called in the novel, that I found the imagining to be so captivating. Even though I still wondered how much might be true, O’Farrell’s beautiful rendition stands as brilliant storytelling. The other thing that worried me is that this novel just seemed so different from the other novels by Maggie O’Farrell. She’s one of my favorite writers and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I wasn’t in the least and after thinking about this for a bit, I had to up my original four stars to five. While it’s a different kind of story than what she has written before, I found the same beautiful writing and stunning depiction of emotion that I loved in all her other novels.
The bard himself is not the main character on this stage. His name is not mentioned once . He is the son of John and Mary, the husband of Agnes, the father of Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith, but never called by name. The focus is not on his plays, except for one, titled after his son Hamnet, who in the book dies at eleven of the plague. How we see the play in the end through Agnes’s eyes and heart was one of the most moving scenes of the novel. This felt from the beginning for me like Agnes’s story. Her story begins in an is almost fairy tale like way, as a girl belonging to a forest, remembering her mother, learning the power of plants and the meaning of her premonitions . She meets the Latin tutor, son of the glove maker and when they marry, she moves to Henley Street in Stratford with him.
The narrative alternatives from 1596 just before Hamnet dies and with Agnes’s early life, the time of their marriage and the years in between. Life in these times and in this place feels historically accurate, even if we really never will know the details of their family life, the death of their son. The most realistic thing of all was the stunning portrayal of a family’s grief, especially a mother’s grief. As Agnes prepares for Hamnet’s burial, when she goes to his grave or can’t bear to part with his clothes, I felt the depth of her grief.
I loved reading about Stratford, the family house and Agnes’s birthplace. Although I don’t remember details, I was there on Henley Street around thirty years ago at Shakespeare’s birthplace house and Anne (Agnes) Hathway’s house which is on the property there as well. I felt a warm connection knowing that I had been there once . I recommend this to lovers of historical fiction and most definitely to fans of Maggie O’Farrell.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Knopf (Random House) through Edelweiss.
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