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Hamlet, A Novel

Hamlet’s father has just died. By the time they’ve filled in the grave his mother has remarried. Hamlet suspects foul play, and it’s troubling his spirit. Or maybe he was always troubled. Ophelia is in love with him. His best friend Horatio can’t work him out. Then, on a cold, still night, Hamlet meets the ghost of his father…

This wonderful book, by one of Australia’s most-loved writers, takes Shakespeare’s famous play and makes it into a moving and full-blooded novel. John Marsden powerfully re-imagines the original characters and story. Hamlet, A Novel will be adored by readers young and old.

John Marsden
About the Author

John Marsden’s books have sold more than four million copies around the world. He is the author of thirty novels including the highly acclaimed Tomorrow series and the Ellie Chronicles. Marsden was a teacher for many years before becoming a full-time writer, and his interest in education has never waned. In 1998 he bought the Tye Estate, 850...

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240 pp
Text publication date:
1 September 2008
AU Price:
Shakespeare, first love, dysfunctional families
Reading age:
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Praise for John Marsden
andHamlet, A Novel

‘Marsden’s Hamlet is believable as a stone-skimming, football-kicking boy…It is clear form the outset that Marsden has an intuitive understanding of Shakespeare, ad that the sensibilities of his Hamlet stay close to the play. The task of retaining the original feel of a work while at the same time creating something fresh is immense. And Marsden has succeeded in making the characters and the story his own. He has…infused the work with his own wit, and Shakespeare would surely approve…The characters are drawn vividly…the relationships between Horatio and Hamlet and between Hamlet and Ophelia, are as strong as ever…Marsden has brought his knowledge of the contours of a child’s mind to bear, treading softly but boldly around Shakespeare’s longest play. The result, like the original, is a compelling yarn that surprises most in its universality.’

‘In emphasising the youth of these characters…Marsden is able to draw out a universal element to their evolving personal and familial relationships…Highly recommended for older readers, especially those who thought they’d never read Shakespeare.’

‘John Marsden, the Pied Piper of Australian YA literature, has decided to lead his vast army of devotees into Shakespeare country—to be specific, Elsinore. And why not? The progress from adolescence to maturity is the very stuff of YA fiction, and Hamlet is a story about growing up…reluctant male readers in particular will be reassured they are on familiar ground and that this prince in black jeans is just like them, an adolescent grappling with the problems of parents, first love and raging hormones…in words that are not unsympathetic to the original text and that often attain a poetry of their own… Marsden can also give Shakespeare a run for his money when it comes to word play and sexual innuendo…What fun they’ll have in the classroom deconstructing this Hamlet. Reading this handsome hardback, with its arresting cover image…may be a way for some students to approach the play and get a handle on the plot and characters.’