Reviews

Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

lonestarwords's review against another edition

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5.0

I find,' he says, his voice still muffled, 'that I am constantly wondering where he is. Where he has gone. It is like a wheel ceaselessly turning at the back of my mind. Whatever I am doing, wherever I am, I am thinking: Where is he, where is he? He can't have just vanished. He must be somewhere. All I have to do is find him. I look for him everywhere, in every street, in every crowd, in every audience. That's what I am doing, when I look out at them all: I try to find him, or a version of him.
Maggie O'Farrell
Hamnet
This novel was exactly the immersive fall read I hoped it would be. It is a tapestry of words that definitely will not be for every reader. It is a quiet book with an almost fairy tale like quality; it reads like a classic and at times I felt like I was watching the action open up on a stage in front of me; O'Farrell's writing is so gorgeously descriptive.

At its heart, Hamnet is a book about the depth of a mother's love, and how we each handle grief in our own way. I was initially worried I might not connect with this text because I'm not a fan of Shakespeare (despite having many professors who tried to sway me). But that is absolutely not important here. And the novel's main character is not Hamnet, but we watch his family pivot off of his memory in the wake of his death. We spend most of the book with his mother Agnes (Anne), a woman who history has all but ignored, and we meet Shakespeare early in his career as a young playwright.

I am not a huge historical fiction reader, but I love watching an author breathe life into an lesser known figure, and that is what O'Farrell does here -- she has pieced together what little history is known of this woman and her son, and created an absolutely beautiful reading experience.

If you love plot in your books, this is probably not your read. This is a rich character study and beautiful, lyrical writing at its best - my jam. Hamnet is my third Maggie O'Farrell novel and she is now in "auto-buy" status for me.

yseemeusnier's review against another edition

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emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

ellenleuf's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

ddt23_'s review against another edition

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inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

ghostdrop's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

5.0

sarakristinreads's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character

4.75

monty905's review against another edition

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dark emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Shed a few tears. Now I'm scared of having kids. God, I'm so depressed now.

judithr22's review against another edition

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slow-paced

5.0

ele_reads's review against another edition

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emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

windbreak's review against another edition

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emotional sad slow-paced

4.5

maggie o farrell got me trapped in this book about SHAKESPEARE? how