Competition published on February 10, 2017.
From the bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Burial Rites, comes The Good People, set in nineteenth-century Ireland and based on newspaper reports and a court case from the time.
Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.
Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about a creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house. Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…
As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheál, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.
The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie’s voice. A whisper in the dark.
“Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.”
**We have a copy of the book to give away – scroll down for your chance to win**
What they say…
Lyrical and unsettling, The Good People is a vivid account of the contradictions of life in rural Ireland in the 19th century. A literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller, Hannah Kent takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy. I am in awe of Kent’s gifts as a storyteller.
– Paula Hawkins
[A] thoroughly engrossing entrée into the macabre nature of a vanished society, its virtues and its follies and its lethal impulses.
– Thomas Keneally
Kent displays an uncanny ability to immerse herself in an unfamiliar landscape and to give that landscape a life — a voice – that is utterly convincing…It’s a haunting novel, shrewdly conceived and beautifully written.
– The Australian
What we say…
[Hannah Kent] has a talent for getting into the minds of people living in a different time and with different beliefs. She does her research well, which lends authenticity to the voices of her characters. In this novel, Nora’s grief and despair are shown through her words and actions as she tries to understand how her world has changed so quickly. Mary is homesick but valiantly trying to do her best for the poor sick boy, Michael. But the character who comes to life most is Nance Roche, who truly believes in her abilities and powers to cure and help people.
– Maddy Broome
Anyone expecting tweeness so close to the realm of the fairies would be wrong. What you get from this book is the real sense of how important folklore was to this village’s everyday existence. This suggests seamless research as the book is saturated with the feel of the times. It is dark, has a strong sense of foreboding, with inevitable tragedies and is a very involving read.
– Phil Ramage
About the author
Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. Her first novel, Burial Rites, has been translated into nearly thirty languages and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize), the Guardian First Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In Australia it won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award, amongst others. Hannah is also the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings. The Good People is her second novel.
We have a copy of The Good People to give away – for your chance to win simply fill in the form below:
The Good People by Hannah Kent, published on 9th February, 2017 by Picador in hardback
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