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Hamnet (2020)

por Maggie O'Farrell

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1,3209410,643 (4.27)265
"A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11 year old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman--a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down--a magnificent departure from one of our most gifted novelists"--… (mais)
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Inglês (89)  Espanhol (3)  Holandês (1)  Catalão (1)  Todas as línguas (94)
Mostrando 1-5 de 94 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This is an interesting book. A fictionalised telling of the life of Shakespeare, concentrating on the short life of his only son.
I liked the plot - it is clearly fiction, and quite different from what I imagine might have been the case in real life, but it is plausible, consistent with the few facts known about Shakespeare's family life, and entertaining to boot.
I was less thrilled with the writing style. The non-linear style of telling made the story disjointed for me. I also was a little irritated by the use of first names only, soon after characters have been introduced - the reader sometimes needs descriptors for the first few times - 'his father' rather than just 'John'. This can be done subtly, and the reader gets into the groove. This author had me flailing.
But a good read for anyone with even the most fleeting interest in Shakespeare. ( )
  mbmackay | Jun 14, 2021 |
One cannot commence a review of this fine novel without pondering the nature and expression of grief.

So many of us have had our troubles and our losses over the past year or two that we would have to be turned into stone not to be moved by or identify with the protagonists of this book.

How do we treat with grief? For some of us it stultifies; we feel as if the world has or should stop turning so that we can stay as we were in that exact moment before we were bereft. It is said that grief can be all-consuming and for some it does consume - in pain, in loss, in fear and anguish and anger. For some it inspires us to memorialise and remember to create and to dedicate so that the loved one is never forgotten.

This is at heart what Hamnet spoke to me. The shades of grief between mother and father, twin and husband and wife is brilliantly explored and dissected and it leads us to the understanding that we all find our own way to get through. I thought the scenes where young Hamnet is prepared for his funeral and the funeral itself are some that will long stay with me and deserving alone of the plaudits O'Farrell received for the whole thing.

Possibly the world's finest play came from the premature end of a little boy, but the mother remembers the boy not the play. ( )
1 vote PaulCranswick | Jun 6, 2021 |
MAY 2022
  1stFriday-McKinney | Jun 4, 2021 |
So good. And so heartbreaking. Now I want to track down all the other books written about Shakespeare and read those too. ( )
  AngelClaw | Jun 1, 2021 |
Hamnet is a beautifully written and emotional historical novel that offers a fictional take on the events surrounding the death of William Shakespeare's son some years before he wrote Hamlet.

The novel is mainly focused on Hamnet's mother, Agnes, and it is her grief that O'Farrell paints the most vividly. Shakespeare himself is never named, and is in the background for the most part. It's clear from the outset that this is a story about a grieving family, rather than a story about its most well-known member.

I loved everything about Hamnet, from the evocation of place to the thoughtful portraits of each member of the Shakespeare family. The writing is stunningly moving while also being completely gripping - I almost cried at quite a few moments. I don't have any experience of bringing up and losing a child, but O'Farrell depicts Agnes's grief so simply yet clearly that the reader can recognise and empathise with her very easily.

I'm not at all surprised that Hamnet won the Women's Prize, and I fully expect to hear of some sort of attempt to adapt the book for TV or film, such is its filmic quality. I'm looking forward to exploring more by O'Farrell in future. ( )
  mooingzelda | May 25, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 94 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone. 

Hamlet, Act IV, scene v
Hamnet and Hamlet are in fact the same name, entirely interchangeable in Stratford records in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

—Steven Greenblatt, "The Death of Hamnet and the Making of Hamlet," New York Review of Books (October 21, 2004)
I am dead:
Thou livest;
. . . draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story

      —Hamlet, Act V, scene ii
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A boy is coming down a flight of stairs.
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Agnes believes her position, as new daughter-in-law, to be ambiguous, somewhere between apprentice and hen.
The branches of the forest are so dense you cannot feel the rain.
There will be no going back. No undoing of what was laid out for them. The boy has gone and the husband will leave and she will stay and the pigs will need to be fed every day and time runs only one way.
What is the word, Judith asks her mother, for someone who was a twin but is no longer a twin?
... If you were a wife , Judith continues, and your husband dies, then you are a widow. And if its parents die, a child becomes an orphan. But what is the word for what I am? ... Maybe there isn't one, she suggests.
Maybe not, says her mother.
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"A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11 year old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman--a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down--a magnificent departure from one of our most gifted novelists"--

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