DUBRAY STAFF REVIEW: "Little is known about Shakespeare's only son, but in her latest novel, Maggie O'Farrell brings Hamnet to life. When Hamnet dies of fever aged eleven in 1596, his mother is alone, overwhelmed by her loss and heartbreak. Shakespeare is away in London and it’s later that the true extent of his grief is realised in his great play Hamlet, a testimony to his son. Shakespeare's history is sketchy, but Maggie O'Farrell draws her characters with great delicacy. Her deep understanding of grief also makes this novel an expression of what it means to be human." Recommended by Aileen Smyth, Dubray Liffey Valley
A stunning new departure for Maggie O'Farrell's fiction - 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 flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; a kestrel and its mistress; 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.
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