“Miraculous…. Brilliant…. A novel told with the urgency of a whispered prayer—or curse.”—The Washington Post
The extraordinarily received, deeply moving novel from the acclaimed author of I Am, I Am, I Am about the death of Shakespeare’s eleven-year-old son Hamnet—a name interchangeable with Hamlet in fifteenth-century Britain—and the years leading up to the production of his great play.
England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting healthy and sick, old and young alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on.
A young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. 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 their 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, 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.