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Six Degrees of Separation: Hamnet

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On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

How the meme works

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.

A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. (Books Are My Favorite and Best)

 

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About Hamnet from Amazon

“Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life… here is a novel … so gorgeously written that it transports you.” —The Boston Globe

 

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

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 his 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, and 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.

This book is on my 2021 TBR.

My Chain

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The first books that came to mind was Entertaining Mr. Pepys. Though set in 1666, Pepys of Peyps Diary fame features in the book as would be expected. The main character though is an actress and lives through some really rough times–like the Great Plague. She would obviously have done Shakepeare’s plays from time-to-time.

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Ghost Map by tells of a plague in London in a later day.

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Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is a retelling of Shakespeare

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Thousand Acres is another retelling–I read it when it came out.

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H is for Hawk tells of another wild creature like Agnes–though she came to train Goshawks, not falcons. Still, I feel there’s a tie there. Birds of Prey.

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Clarissa by Clarissa Eden

Still alive at 100, Clarissa is accorded the style of Lady Avon, albeit NOT Lady Stratford Upon Avon–because her husband, Anthony Eden was given that peerage for his rather shambolic service as P.M. and his many years as Foreign Secretary to Clarissa’s uncle, Winston Churchill. I’m going with this regardless of the tenuousness of the link! After all Clarissa hung out with theatre people and her first cousin, Sarah (Winston’s daughter) was an actress. There! First and last link connected.

February’s Chain …

…starts with an book by an author on this chain–Anne Tyler’s Redhead By the Side of the Road which I have read and enjoyed.

17 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Hamnet

  1. Great chain of thought. I think I’ve watched the movie for A Thousand Acres long back, but have never read the book itself — thanks for reminding me it was based on King Lear! I especially loved your take on Pepys — yes, those roles would have been quite a feat, eh?
    I have done a rather obvious chain on Shakespearean retellings, and Vinegar Girl is on my list too.
    ~Lex
    ~Six Degrees Post @Lexlingua

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is – I’ve liked most of them – recently read All Quiet on the Western Front a freshman read for my college son – I had never read it and now it’s one of the best books I’ve read.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A nice assortment. I have not yet finished Hamnet but read A Thousand Acres when it was relatively new and H is for Hawk a year or so ago (I found it disturbing but fascinating). I read another of Deborah Swift’s book with a flower focus, as I recall.

    I haven’t read much Anne Tyler but maybe that will change by next month!

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