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Hamnet (2020)

par Maggie O'Farrell

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneMentions
1,9171356,700 (4.25)315
"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"--… (plus d'informations)
Récemment ajouté parbibliothèque privée, rubicon528, Bruyere_C, splinfo, Bridget737, Rennie90, greenquark, fran777, jenniferw88, vestak78
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» Voir aussi les 315 mentions

Anglais (128)  Espagnol (3)  Néerlandais (2)  Catalan (1)  Toutes les langues (134)
Affichage de 1-5 de 134 (suivant | tout afficher)
The character of Agnes, Hamnet's mother, made this book compelling for me. She was the most well-realized character I've encountered in a long time, the world she inhabited felt vivid and real, and her grief at losing her son was so palpable. The ending was perfectly moving. I enjoyed how this was so much her story and so much not her famous husband's story that his name was never actually used. A wonderful read. ( )
  sturlington | Nov 27, 2021 |
I liked how the book focuses on Agnes, not William, and not the play itself (well, not to the very end - and then, well done). other reviews take issue with her as a trope, the witchy woman, but I didn’t see this; I like how she was drawn. I’ve read reviews aghast at what they describe as purple prose, but I found the writing to be lyrical and descriptive; there was a cadence to her writing that added to it and did not become purpled.

Recommended by Rachael ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
I got off to a bad start with this one. I found the prose style difficult to get into as it seems to come at everything indirectly, including the conceit of never directly naming one of the major characters. The pacing was slow, exacerbated by my reading only a few pages at a time. For four or five days of my time, it seemed the only thing happening was a little boy running around trying to get someone to look at his sick sister . . . and no one does until page 91.

Slowly my impatience gave way to engrossment in the character studies and fleshing out of this distant time and place. I deliberately increased my reading pace and found myself getting swept up in the little dramas of domestic life and the soupçon of magical realism. Once I gave into the emotional ride, I found myself fighting back tears as I shared in the family's trials, triumphs, and grief -- so much grief.

My main takeaway: Everyone should have a Bartholomew in their life. ( )
  villemezbrown | Nov 17, 2021 |
Hamnet is a historical fiction novel about the life of William Shakespeare’s family at the time of his son Hamnet’s death in 1596 and the writing of the play Hamlet around 1600. I was disappointed with this award-winning novel. I found it boring, but even worse was the prose style of the author that succeeded in what I can only call piling on the adjectives and adjective phrases in describing in detail the mundane activities of the characters.

The description of William Shakespeare’s early life, his marriage to Anne Hathaway, whom O’Farrell calls Agnes, the death of his son Hamnet from the plague and the subsequent impact of this tragedy on their marriage and his work comprise the plot of the novel. Will is never named and is referred to as ‘her husband’, ’the father’ or ‘ the latin tutor’. He also has very little to say for himself. This deliberate omission is most likely made to free the narrative from the weight of association that his name carries, but I found it quite contrived considering how much detail we are given about the setting, including the house interiors and streets of Stratford.

The novel begins with Hamnet but the central character is his mother Agnes who is unconventional, free spirited, a gifted herbalist and clairvoyant. It is the events between Hamnet’s parents’ meeting and his birth that provide a major part of the story. At her first meeting with Will she presses the flesh between his thumb and forefinger which reveals his incredible future to her but disappointingly very little subsequently emerges from this insight. There are some interesting descriptions of his former home and the life of the household. The story is narrated in a non-linear fashion with each chapter relating to a different time period. However I found the frequent back and forth an unnecessary stylistic approach that added to my overall disappointment. ( )
1 voter jwhenderson | Nov 15, 2021 |
A story I found intriguing. I had expected a historical romance but this book is much more nuanced. The author’s description of provincial life for the moderately comfortable in Tudor times sits easily within the overall story without becoming a history lesson. In particular, I found the expectation of death, both of children, and mothers during childbirth. I also found the explanation of the postal system based very much on trust and chance interesting. ( )
  Denscott | Nov 13, 2021 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
O'Farrell, Maggieauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionsconfirmé
Vries, Willemijn deNarrateurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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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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