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WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION – THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER
FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR – BRITISH BOOK AWARDS
‘Richly sensuous… something special’ The Sunday Times

‘A thing of shimmering wonder’ David Mitchell

TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

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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Reviews

Marian Keyes
Stunning. The writing is exquisite, immersive and compelling... deserves to win prizes
Kamila Shamsie
The story of Hamnet Shakespeare has been waiting in the shadows for over four hundred years. Maggie O'Farrell brings it dazzlingly, devastatingly, into the light
Sarah Moss
Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it
Patrick Gale
Heartstopping. Hamnet does for the Shakespeare story what Jean Rhys did for Jane Eyre, inhabiting, enlarging and enriching it in ways that will alter the reader's view for ever
Cosmopolitan
Blisteringly brilliant... You'll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins
Sunday Telegraph
[A] rich imagining of the lives of Shakespeare's family enchants... O'Farrell's remarkable novel bursts with life
Rachel Joyce
A beautiful read. A devastating one. Intricate, and breathtakingly imaginative
Claire Tomalin
A bold undertaking. Beautifully imagined and written
Sunday Times
Richly sensuous...something special
Observer
The novel of her career... everyone I know who has managed to get hold of a copy is absolutely in love with it
Scotsman
A staggeringly beautiful and unbearably poignant novel. O'Farrell is one of the most surprisingly quiet radicals in fiction
Roddy Doyle
A glorious novel... extraordinary