Waterstones announced their choice for the 2020’s Book of the Year. And the winner is…
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.
This is what the Waterstones booksellers had to say about their choice:
Indisputably Maggie O’Farrell’s masterpiece, Hamnet recreates both a vibrant Elizabethan world and the short, tragic life of Shakespeare’s only son in peerless, evocative prose. Passionately championed by our booksellers since its publication in March, this uniquely powerful meditation on love, family and loss demands to be read by all. Our special Waterstones edition is sumptuously designed with gold foil on cloth binding, stunning endpapers and an exclusive essay.