Maggie O’Farrell: Giving New Life to Shakespeare’s Son
‘Hamnet and Hamlet are in fact the same name, entirely interchangeable in Stratford in the late sixteenth century’. This epigram to Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, Hamnet, dispels any doubt that Shakespeare’s son and his most celebrated character are meaningfully linked. In a short but scorchingly emotional book, O’Farrell brings us into the 16th century world of Shakespeare’s family living in Stratford. It is the time of the bubonic plague and with one of the family members falling into a fever, the novel charts the emotional journey of Shakespeare’s wife Agnes as trauma approaches.
Surely Maggie O’Farrell’s most accomplished novel to date, Hamnet centres around the emotional life of a deeply intuitive woman, charting the terrain of her grief at the loss of a child. Join the Edinburgh-based writer as she discusses Hamnet with Scotland on Sunday Literary Editor Stuart Kelly.