Hamnet

Maggie O'Farrell

fiction historical literary
emotional reflective slow-paced

384 pages | first published 2020

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, dies 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.

What the community thinks

summary of 1527 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings


Expand filter menu View warnings

Moods

emotional 91%
sad 77%
reflective 66%
dark 18%
challenging 9%
inspiring 9%
mysterious 8%
hopeful 7%
informative 7%
tense 6%
adventurous 1%
relaxing 1%
funny 0%

Pace

medium 49%
slow 47%
fast 3%

Plot- or character-driven?

Character: 81% | A mix: 15% | Plot: 2% | N/A: 0%

Strong character development?

Yes: 72% | It's complicated: 15% | No: 10% | N/A: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 70% | It's complicated: 21% | No: 6% | N/A: 1%

Diverse cast of characters?

No: 82% | Yes: 8% | It's complicated: 5% | N/A: 3%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 59% | It's complicated: 19% | No: 17% | N/A: 3%

Average rating

4.4