Hamnet and Judith: A novel

Category: Book
By (author): O'Farrell, Maggie
Subject:  FICTION / General
  FICTION / Historical
  FICTION / Literary
Awards: Women's Prize for Fiction (2020) Short-listed
Publisher: Knopf Random Vintage Canada
Published: July 2020
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 8.25in x 5.62in
Our Price:
$ 24.95
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"Remarkable . . . will leave you shaking with loss but also the love from which family is spun." Emma Donoghue, author of Room

"Without a doubt one of the best novels I've ever read." Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes


England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an 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 on the Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband. His gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when their beloved twins, Hamnet and Judith, are afflicted with the bubonic plague, and, devastatingly, one of them succumbs to the illness.

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 literary masterpieces of all time, Hamnet & Judith is mesmerizing and seductive, an impossible-to-put-down novel from one of our most gifted writers.

"A thing of shimmering wonder." -David Mitchell

"Hamnet & Judith is a beautiful read, a devastating one, intricate, and breathtakingly imaginative. It will stay with me a long time." -Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

"What could be more common, over centuries and continents, than the death of a child-and yet Maggie O'Farrell, with her flawless sentences and furious heart, somehow makes it new. This story of remarkable people bereft of their boy will leave you shaking with loss but also the love from which family is spun." -Emma Donoghue, author of Room

"Love, grief, hope, resilience-the world of this novel is so vivid I could nearly smell the grass in the fields, hear the rain in the gutters. In moments where the story shoots up to heaven I was there, too, grieving with these characters, feeling how lucky weall are to be alive, understanding how desperately we want the people we love to be remembered. It's without a doubt one of the best novels I've ever read." -Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes

"Stunning. The writing is exquisite, immersive and compelling . . . deserves to win prizes." -Marian Keyes
"One of the most eagerly awaited books of the spring. . . . [Hamnet & Judith] takes an unconventional approach to literary history and has already been hailed as a critical hit." -The Guardian

"Miraculous. . . . [A] beautiful imagination of the short life of Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, and the untold story of his wife, ‘Agnes' Hathaway, which builds into a profound exploration of the healing power of creativity." -The Observer

"The story of Hamnet Shakespeare has been waiting in the shadows for over four hundred years. Maggie O'Farrell brings it dazzlingly, devastatingly, into the light." -Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
"Blisteringly brilliant. . . . You'll lap up this intricately told story of grief, love and the bond between twins." -Cosmopolitan UK

"Heartstopping. Hamnet & Judith does for the Shakespeare story what Jean Rhys did for Jane Eyre, inhabiting, enlarging and enriching it in ways that will alter the reader's view for ever." -Patrick Gale, author of Take Nothing With You
"Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it." -Sarah Moss, author of Ghost Wall
"Hamnet & Judith knits the loose threads of Shakespeare's shadowy family life into a shimmering tapestry. Rooted in history but lightly drawn, this dreamlike novel builds to a haunting finish. Gorgeous, penetrating, and memorable." -Alix Hawley, author of My Name Is a Knife

"Hamnet & Judith is breathtaking-as rich in historical detail as it is emotionally resonant. This is O'Farrell at her best." –Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
"Luminous and sensual, Hamnet & Judith draws open a curtain on a new vision of Shakespeare's children and mysterious marriage. O'Farrell's creation of 'Agnes' Hathaway as a strong, dark, visioning person carries such poignancy, beauty and surprise-yet seems the perfect answer to what Shakespeare's wife might have been like. In fact, Maggie O'Farrell has imagined a Shakespearean heroine, unschooled yet intuitively gifted, flesh to his brilliant mind. A fascinating exploration into the domestic roots of one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies." -Shaena Lambert, author of Petra and Oh, My Darling
"A bold undertaking, beautifully imagined and written." -Claire Tomalin, author of Charles Dickens: A Life

"I don't know how anyone could fail to love this book. It is a marvel: a great work of imaginative recreation and a great story. It is also a moral achievement to have transformed that young child from being a literary footnote into someone so tenderly alive that part of you wishes he had survived and Hamlet never been written."  -Dominic Dromgoole, author of Hamlet Globe to Globe
Biographical NoteBorn in Northern Ireland in 1972, MAGGIE O'FARRELL grew up in Wales and Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. Her debut novel, After You'd Gone (2000), won a Betty Trask Award and was followed by My Lover's Lover (2002); The Distance Between Us (2004), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2006); Costa Book Award winner The Hand That First Held Mine (2010); Instructions for a Heatwave (2013); This Must Be the Place (2016); and most recently, the memoir I Am, I Am, I Am (2018).