A review by sefkhet
Hamnet, by Maggie O'Farrell

emotional hopeful reflective sad 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


It’s great book for lots of reasons, but the thing that strikes me is that Part 2 is one of the greatest and realest literary explorations of grief I’ve ever come across. There’s a moment — and you’ll know it when you get there — when I stopped reading and played It’s Quiet Uptown from Hamilton and then read Maya Angelou’s poem When Great Trees Fall.

In this edition, Maggie O’Farrell has a postscript about the odd experience of having this book be released in March 2020. There’s a chapter early in the book which describes and humanises how the Black Death broke out across Europe. It’s my view that that, too, is one of the greatest pieces of modern writing, even as I read it with the events of March 2020 and what happened afterwards still very fresh and raw and real.

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