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  • Location: Stratford upon Avon



Why a Booktrail?

1596: The story behind the play Hamlet

  • ISBN: 978-1472223791
  • Genre: Historical, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Travel Guide

Travel back to Shakespearean times and Hamnet/Hamlet

Hamnet was  the name of Shakespeare’s son, who tragically died at the age of 11. The name of the Shakespeare play is of course Hamlet and is very closely related to the son’s name. So, what is the connection? The death of his child is deeply embedded into the thread of the play and this makes for fascinating reading.

Hamlet’s plot

The ghost of the King of Denmark tells his son Hamlet to avenge his murder by killing the new king, Hamlet’s uncle. Hamlet feigns madness, contemplates life and death, and seeks revenge. His uncle, fearing for his life, also devises plots to kill Hamlet.

You are invited to explore the world of Shakespeare in and around Stratford and enter inside the setting of one of the greatest plays in the world. You don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare or his plays to read this. This novel is a fictionalised imagining of his family back in Stratford while he is making a name for himself in London and so you can read this fresh and still find it fascinating and insightful. A story within a story.

The Plague

There is a section of the novel that really takes you inside the 1560s and what is was like to live in those times. You learn about a single flea and how its affected the fate and health of so many.

On another note, Shakespeare may have been a brilliant playwright but as we see here, he abandoned his family to head for the bright lights of London and rarely came back to visit.

Booktrailer Review

Brilliant. Imagine going back in time and meeting Shakespeare and spending time in his world?

TheBookTrail’s bookreview of Hamnet

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Hamnet

Destination/location: Stratford upon Avon  Author/guide:  Maggie O’Farrell  Departure Time: 1560s

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