Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dickens sans whimsy

Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief is the kind of picaresque novel in which new characters rise from the dead and emerge from chimneys in a manner that at first seems fantastical but proves deeply grounded in the muck of reality and frail humanity. I felt as if I was furiously reading for my life as I  careened with the captivating young hero from one life-and-death situation to another. This harrowing tale of redemption is seriously addictive!
"The plot is Dickensian" wrote the New York Times, "and so are some of the names, but the style isn’t. Tinti’s prose is straightforward and measured, with none of Dickens’s baroque whimsy.... The effect of Tinti’s steady, authoritative style is to make odd and extraordinary events seem natural: if she says there are hat boys and mousetrap girls, there are. And because of the seeming transparency of the narrator, we experience the world as Ren does, and feel his fear, unfiltered, when he’s left alone with a wagonload of corpses and one of them sits up. Writing for adults while keeping to a child’s perspective isn’t easy, and Tinti makes it look effortless."


  1. I own this book, but have yet to read it. I'm now moving it from the middle of my "to read" pile to the top. I'm intrigued!

  2. I hope you will come back & share what you thought of it!