The Good People by Hannah KentThe Good People by Hannah Kent

The Good People

byHannah Kent

Hardcover | September 19, 2017

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From the author of Burial Rites, "a literary novel with the pace and tension of a thriller that takes us on a frightening journey towards an unspeakable tragedy."-Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent's startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent's startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers.
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. Hannah is also the co-founder and publishin...
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Title:The Good PeopleFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.75 × 6.5 × 1.5 inPublished:September 19, 2017Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316243965

ISBN - 13:9780316243964

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written & Engaging Albeit the Slow Pace Set in 19th century Ireland, this story revolves around the time when old superstitions, heathen practices and fairy folklore took precedence over truths in the lives of people and how those beliefs usually led to dark consequences. When 4 years old Micheal can no longer walk or talk, his grandmother, Nora Leahy, a grieving widow who also lost her daughter recently, sought the help of Nance Roche, the village's folk healer. She believes that the child is a changeling, a fairy child left by fairies known as the Good People as a substitute for the stolen child. Together, they and Mary Clifford (the 14 years old hired help of Nora) performed horrendous rituals on the boy to banish the fairy back to its kind, which subsequently led to the death of the boy. A change-child is ever eating, never growing. And silence in a child is a sign of the Good People's spite to us when They have been offended. It is by Tgeur never talking that they might be known. Hic crying at all hours, that too is a sign of the changeling. First thing first. This is a slow-paced novel. It seems that it is not getting anywhere in the first 100 pages of the book, but the author did a wonderful job in setting the background of the story with beautiful descriptions of the village, the community's way of life & the superstitions and pagan beliefs which played a crucial role in their lives. But things begin to get interesting after that with good amount of suspense, especially on the part where rituals were performed. Heads up! These parts were hard to read. I felt so indignant over the abuse of the child. I mean how wrong can these people be? It made no sense! With that being said, the premise of the story is no doubt an intriguing one. I enjoyed those instances about the superstitions and practices of the people and the results of those beliefs. For example, pig's waste mixed with water were rubbed on the woman's belly to aid labour. The woman was also given bittersweet berries although poisonous during labour which later caused the death of the baby in the womb. Also what was interesting about the premise of the story is that it was actually inspired by true event in 1826 where a woman named Anne/Nance Roche was indicted for the wilful murder of a boy named Michael Leahy. She was later acquitted on the grounds that she did not mean to kill the boy but attempted to cure the boy believing him to be a changeling. As always, the author never ceases to amaze me with her storytelling talent. This book is divided into three parts. Part One is about setting the background of the story. Like I mentioned earlier, it was the slow part of the book. Part Two is the story buildup leading to the rituals and the death of Micheál. Part Three is about the indiction and trial of Nora, Nance and Mary, and their lives after this whole fiasco. I wish that these three parts were more equally distributed as I felt there were many unnecessary stories in Part One rendering it to be trite and somewhat boring. Whereas Part Three seems rushed specifically the trial part. Hence the ending of this whole story was not as satisfying as I expect it to be. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the author's atmospheric writing and lyrical prose. She is truly a talented writer able to evoke gamut of emotions in her readers. Characters were quite well-developed. But I think Nance's character stood out. There were more backstories about her and how she ended up as the village's folk healer. It was sad but upsetting at the same time. Other characters fared quite well. I like Mary's character especially her caring and nurturing nature for Micheál. Although only a child, she was outspoken about her convictions and was determined to protect Micheál. Nora was a desperate obdurate grandmother trying to cure her grandchild despite a clouded judgement that brought an end to the child's life. In a nutshell, this beautifully written and well-researched book will certainly keep readers engaged despite the slow pace. It is haunting, poignant and thought-provoking. It is unimaginable how these superstitions and heathen practices were so crucial that they outweigh truths and impaired the faculty of reasoning in people, even when one's life is at stake.
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful story! A wonderfully told story of Ireland at a time when the old traditions & superstitions still lived strong and the Christian faith was gaining strength & believers. It's a time when people believed both God and faeries, and superstitions ran rampant. Nora's tale is a sad one. Her grief over losing her daughter, husband and her "true" grandson is overwhelming. She's alone, she's sad, she's overwhelmed. In her grief, she is determined to get her grandson back from the faeries. Hannah Kent looked at this true life story with humane and warm eyes. She delved into the people's thoughts and motives. She spun a wonderfully true to life story of a time when belief systems were on the cusp of change.
Date published: 2018-05-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A little disappointed.. I'm sad to finally let this go. I loved Hannah Kent's first book, Burial Rites , so I thought I'd love this one, too. While I still love her writing, I just can't get through this book - either it's too slow and nothing is happening, or I'm in the wrong mood to read this kind of book. I may reread it someday, but right now, I can't pick it up anymore and it's been a struggle to sign it out from different libraries multiple times just because I can't seem to be able to finish it on time...
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impressive Outstanding plot that will keep you entertained
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Darkly Heart-wrenching I do enjoy a dark book, and this one definitely falls within that category. The story is set in 19th Century Ireland and is set on true events. In an isolated community where a physician's aid is difficult to come by, the people depend upon old wives tales, superstitions, and the help of a healer. Nora is the protagoist and when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly dies, she is left alone to raise their handicapped grandson. Unable to run the farm and take care of the invalid child, she hires the help of a young woman named Mary to care for the boy. At first Mary is shocked and struggles to find her comfort in her strange circumstances. Soon, however, her bond with the boy grows. Superstition abounds and Nora is convinced the boy is not her grandson but a changeling left by the mysterious, fairy, magical "good folk". With the help of the local healer, an old woman who practices with superstition and herbs, the three women set about to return the child to the good people and seek the return of the real boy. What transpires is a fascinating tale of misguided intentions, false beliefs, and heart-wrenching circumstances. At times, especially during the middle of the book, it felt almost too hard to believe, nearly fantastical, but then I recalled how this is a story based on an actual occurrence and I read on, unable to put it down. Vividly real, flawed characters grace every page. This is a wonderfully dark tale not for the feint of heart. To say it is heart-wrenching is an understatement. This is a great book for book clubs and for Halloween. It will provide hours of discussion! Highly recommended. I loved it very much!
Date published: 2017-09-27

Editorial Reviews

"The Good People breathes life into the mythologies ofIrish folklore. It unfolds the story of two women desperate to reclaim whatlittle power they can over lives touched with hopelessness and despair in achanging time."-Shelf Awarness