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Hamnet

Hamnet

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars

In the sixteenth century Stratford, a young boy finds his twin sister ill. His search for adults is undermined by his own deteriorating health…

This is how Maggie O’Farrell started her excellent novel. The narrative moves freely between Hamnet, as he seeks help for his sister and his mother, Agnes as a young girl and then wife and mother. O’Farell 

created fascinating round characters and described in detail their daily life. Written in beautiful language, the book relates the story behind one of the most important works of British literature— Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Surprisingly, the playwright does not appear in the novel as often as we would expect, and neither is his characterisation especially appealing. Instead, the voice is given to Agnes, the country wife of William Shakespeare. This allows O’Farrell to explore the ideas of a strong female presence and the controversies surrounding them in the sixteenth century. [SPOILER- only if you don’t know the story of the real boy called Hamnet]The narrative follows the well-known fate of the family, creating an emotional and heart-breaking study of grief. Especially the second half of the book is a beautiful but harrowing portrayal of parents processing the loss of their child in their separate ways.

I genially enjoyed the lecture and would recommend this book not only to those interested in theatre and Shakespeare but to all the fans of good literature.

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