2009: 116. The Good Thief

“The man arrived after morning prayers.”

The Good Thief, Hannah Tinti

       This is a great book, one of my favorite of the year.  I recommend it whole heartedly to anyone who likes a ripping yarn, and anyone who likes a historical novel with a Dickensian feel, and anyone who likes interesting characters, authentic and picturesque atmosphere and well-crafted emotion.  And fun reads.  And if you don’t like those things, are you sure you really like reading?

      It is the story of Ren, who lives in a grim New England orphanage, some time ago.  The orphans (who are all foundlings no one else wants) are being raised by a bunch of Catholic brothers, in a town that hates Catholics (they have a high brick wall around the whole place to try to stop the periodic attempts to burn the whole place down).  Ren has been at the place his whole life, and has no knowledge of who he is, or how he got there - his only scrap of his past is a torn label from the shirt he arrived in, with his name embroidered on.  Nor does he know how he lost his hand, though he does know that it is unlikely he’ll ever be adopted with his deformity.  Until one day a man arrives claiming to be his brother, and taking him away.  It’s soon clear that Benjamin Nab’s tale to the brothers was anything but true, and that Ren has fallen in with a con man and thief.  Yet as time passes and Ren gets more involved in Nab’s lifestyle and adventures, we begin to wonder if maybe Nab really does hold the path to Ren’s history.

     And oh my goodness! The detail, and the crime, and the adventures, and the crazy characters, and the twists, and the ending, and OH! I loved reading this book.  I could barely put it down and wanted more when it ended, and hope Tinti writes another one like it soon.  Honestly, I said this already, but it does remind me of Dickens, with the scrappy orphan and the crazy people he meets - but in the best possible way.  Loved it.

Date/Place Completed:  November 2009; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017