the next good book

The Good People

By Hannah Kent


400 pages

What’s it about? This book takes you back to Ireland in the early 1800’s.  It is a hard life, full of superstition and  fear.  Nora find yourself alone after her husband dies.  She is left to care for her 4 year-old grandson Michael.  Michael can’t speak or walk.  Nora is desperate to find out what happened to him. What did it make me think about? This book is full of Irish folklore.  It looks back at a world of fairies and “the good people” to give us a glimpse at how the rural Irish tried to make sense of their world.  Ms. Kent uses the story of Nóra and her grandson to give us a glimpse into a forgotten world. Should I read it? I read Hannah Kent’s first book, “Burial Rites”, and really liked it.  Her writing is beautiful- especially when she describes the nature.  Nora’s need to help her grandson is something any person would understand.   As the story progresses we see how Nora’s desperation, coupled with her beliefs, shapes Michael’s “cure”.   This book is loosely based on true story and it  certainly made for an interesting idea for a novel. Hannah Kent’s second bookis also well written, but throughout most of this novel I did not feel much connection to the characters.  However, the Irish superstitions and folklore are so interesting that I would still recommend this book though. Quote- “What had happened?  What had her daughter done to lose her son?  Had she not crossed his face with ashes?  Not bit his fingernails until he was nine weeks old?  Not sprinkled his mouth with salt, or barred his cradle with iron?  All women knew how to protect their children from abduction.  A hazel stick by the door.  Milk spilt after stumbling.”

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