Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell review – immersive Shakespearean drama

Culture The Guardian

In her profound study of grief and love, longlisted for the Women’s prize, O’Farrell explores the lives of the playwright’s family and the death of his only son In Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell has placed the bit players of the Shakespeare story centre stage, while the dramatist himself is never even named. This is primarily a portrait of a woman and her three children. In her foreword, O’Farrell explains that ever since she first heard Shakespeare’s only son mentioned at school more than three decades ago, she has wanted to write about him. Hamnet died at the age of 11, four years before Hamlet …

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