Paperback, 372 pages

English language

Published Dec. 31, 2019 by Tinder Press.


View on OpenLibrary

5 stars (3 reviews)

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.

9 editions

quiet accumulation of grief and wonder

5 stars

Fucking hell. I put this off for years because I wasn’t sure I was ready for its sustained grief (and because as a one-time Shakespeare professor, I usually stay away from fiction about him). The grief is hard and circles everything. It’s not easy, but it’s beautiful and I’m glad I read it and I’ll be thinking about it for a long while.

Review of 'Hamnet' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

La trama del libro queda perfectamente resumida en el breve párrafo que lo abre: "En la década de 1580, una pareja [...] tuvo tres hijos: Susanna y Hamnet y Judith, que eran gemelos. Hamnet, el niño, murió en 1590 a los once años. Cuatro años más tarde su padre escribió una obra de teatro titulada Hamlet".

Alrededor de esa trama, O'Farrel construye una narración minuciosa, penetrante y con la dosis justa de preciosismo centrada esos personajes. Sobre todo en Agnes, la madre, a la que convierte en un personaje complejo y carismático. No es ni mucho menos una novela histórica al uso, sí un relato cautivador sobre una familia y dos tragedias (una real, otra escrita).

Nota: si al principio te parece más morosa de la cuenta, dale tiempo. Merece la pena.


  • Fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Shakespeare
  • Black Plague
  • Hamlet
  • Anne Shakespeare
  • Agnes Shakespeare
  • William Shakespeare
  • Child loss