Hamnet imagines the family life of Shakespeare in the years leading up to his son’s death. Mostly following Shakespeare’s wife, Agnes, a woman with unusual healing gifts who is devoted to her children Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet, O’Farrell builds them a rich home life and explores the depths of Agnes’s grief after 11-year old Hamnet’s death.

I’m glad I listened to this, though it didn’t always hold my attention. It’s worth the read or listen alone for the detailed path of the flea that carried the disease that ultimately killed Hamnet–a prescient writing composed before most of us gave “contact tracing” any thought.

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About the Book

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Publisher’s Description

A stunning new departure for Maggie O’Farrell’s fiction, HAMNET is 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 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.

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Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tag: Audiobooks
Publisher: Tinder Press
Publication Year: 2020
Length: 352
ISBN: 9781472223791
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."