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Hamnet  By  cover art

Hamnet

By: Maggie O'Farrell
Narrated by: Ell Potter
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Publisher's summary

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life ... here is a novel ... so gorgeously written that it transports you."—The Boston Globe

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever.

A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.

Don’t miss Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, The Marriage Portrait!

©2020 Maggie O'Farrell (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR One of Bill Gates's Favorite Books of the Year • Book Club Pick: Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles’ The Reading Room

"O'Farrell has a melodic relationship to language. There is a poetic cadence to her writing and a lushness in her descriptions of the natural world. . . . We can smell the tang of the various new leathers in the glover's workshop, the fragrance of the apples racked a finger-width apart in the winter storage shed. . . . As the book unfolds, it brings its story to a tender and ultimately hopeful conclusion: that even the greatest grief, the most damaged marriage, and most shattered heart might find some solace, some healing."—Geraldine Brooks, the New York Times Book Review

"Magnificent and searing. . . . A family saga so bursting with life, touched by magic, and anchored in affection. . . . Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life, about whether he even wrote his own plays, here is a novel that matches him with a woman overwhelmingly more than worthy."The Boston Globe

"A tour de force. . . . Hamnet vividly captures the life-changing intensity of maternity in its myriad stages—from the pain of childbirth to the unassuagable grief of loss. Fierce emotions and lyrical prose are what we've come to expect of O'Farrell."—NPR

Featured Article: All the World's a Stage—The Best Shakespeare Plays in Audio


If there’s one writer whose work translates spectacularly to audio format, it’s the Bard. Hearing Shakespeare’s dialog masterfully performed by professionals with the correct emphasis and tone can make all the difference in catching every clever joke and innuendo, picking up on subtle foreshadowing, and sometimes even understanding the plot itself. Here are our choices for the best Shakespeare audiobooks to add to your library today.