A review by farbooksventure
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes


I think the biggest plot twist of 2021 for me is the fact that Maggie O'Farrell somehow managed to make me SUPER INVESTED in the fictional narrative of Shakespeare's family.

Being from the Global South, this man is nowhere in our education system & pop culture is the one place where I heard about him the most. His various plays intrigued me at some point but the unfamiliar old-timey language intimidated me as a non-native speaker. Reading Hamnet somehow makes me want to give them a try again.

The premise is this: the book follows the death of Hamnet, Shakespeare's only son, & the devastating aftermath that followed. To be honest, I personally will describe it more as the early history of William Shakespeare's family. The book indeed alternates between the present days (counting the hours before Hamnet's demise) and the past (following the courtship of Hamnet's parents, Willian Shakespeare & Anne Hathaway--in the book referred to as Agnes). 

I really love Agnes as a character. Like unexpectedly a whole LOT. I can't stop reading because I'm curious about what the author got in store for Agnes next. I enjoy seeing the change that Agnes goes through. From her early years up until she becomes Hamnet's grieving mother. It's highly engaging.

The fact that this novel is written so beautifully also doesn't hurt. Definitely one of my reading highlights for 2021. I'm glad that I bought it as a birthday present for myself this year too.

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