Twelve-year-old Ren doesn't know who his parents were. He doesn't know who left him at St. Anthony's orphanage, or how he lost his left hand when still an infant. He is resigned to life without a family to call his own and terrified of the future.But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren's long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents is enough to persuade the monks at the orphanage to release the boy. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? Journeying through the New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced by Ben to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure. Ultimately he is apprenticed to Ben's small band of resurrection men, those thieves of the night who steal bodies and sell them to hospitals for medical examination. If Ren stays, he becomes one of them. If he goes, he's lost once again. Most importantly, does Benjamin hold the key to the mystery of his - or their - parents, the defining question of Ren's life?Richly imagined, gothically spooky, and showcasing the storytelling ability of a born novelist, Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief introduces one of the most appealing young heroes in contemporary fiction, and ratifies Hannah Tinti as one of our most exciting talents.More
Vivid language, larger-than-life characters, and an old-fashioned, spell-binding story propel this fable-like tale forward from one adventure to the next in Hannah Tinti's critically-acclaimed debut novel The Good Thief. if Tinti had written this book (released in 2008) a century and a half ago, readers would have lined up at newspaper stands each week for the next installments of the story about a plucky, one-armed orphan named Ren and the odd characters he encounters in grim, 19th-century industrial towns across New England soon after he's adopted from Saint Anthony's orphanage. Fans of Charles Dickens, particularly Oliver Twist, will feel right at home as Tinti writes about con artists, thieves, monks, grave robbers, questionable doctors, a kindly boarding house matron, a ruthless factory owner, a dwarf who lives in a chimney, and a giant who rises from the dead. And like Dickens, Tinti keeps her descriptions and sentences short, getting straight to what matters and leaving out the rest. Such characters might sound like figments of a drunken sailor's imagination as he tells a tall tale in a seaside saloon after returning from a round-the-world voyage. And in some cases, some of the stories are just that, especially when they're told by Benjamin Nabb, the con artist and natural storyteller who adopts Ren. But this book is not science fiction. Like a magically realistic Latin American novel, all of the characters and events are grounded in reality, no matter how far-fetched they may sound. Such plausibility is thanks partly to William Dufris, who narrates the audiobook. Dufris captures the voices of each distinct character and brings them all to life, whether it's letter-dropping New England "faamers", the slow-talking, deep-voiced giant named Dolly, the "mouse trap" girl with a lisp, the shouts of the hard-of-hearing boarding house operator, or the harsh, menacing tone of the factory owner. Dufris especially does a great job of portraying Ren's innocence while not making him sound too childlike. But like the fictional character Benjamin Nabb, Dufris rises to the challenge and delivers a story that would keep any sailor nailed to his seat for hours. Best of all, Tinti keeps you guessing until the very last minute about how this book will end. And while you will probably not predict the ending, you believe every word. No easy task. Then again, Tinti's no ordinary writer. Ken Ross
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Close But No Cigar?
- MR AJ Moore
Picaresque... and boring
- KP "There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson"