Friday, December 11, 2009

Book Club Report: The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

This was the third pick from my new book club (I missed our meeting to discuss pick 2 because I was in Africa).

Short summary: Ren is an orphan and because he is missing a hand, it is unlikely a family will adopt him. When a man who claims to be Ren's long lost brother appears, he introduces Ren into a completely different world filled with scam artists and grave diggers. Is this the family Ren has always longed for?

The group's verdict: Everyone really enjoyed the more realistic beginning, but only those of us with a healthy appreciation for the absurd (such as myself) really liked it by the end. I personally loved the character of Dolly, a dim-witted thug who is "raised from the dead" and becomes Ren's friend and champion. It is partly through him (and the excellent landlady Mrs. Sands) that Ren reevaluates the meaning of family, an important theme in the novel.

Up next: Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min

18 comments:

Sadako said...

Ooh, you're lucky to have a book club. I really need one.

Anyway, it sounds like it could be fun. I do enjoy the absurd! Great review, Lenore!

brizmus said...

a health appreciation for the absurd - lol! I think I'll like all of this book!
I also am jealous that you have a book club.

bermudaonion said...

I"m dying to read this book! Glad to see everyone liked it.

Liviania said...

I didn't know this one had any absurd elements at all - now I'm tempted by it. I always thought it would just be straight-up historical fiction.

Lisa said...

I may suggest this for our book club as well. Sounds great, and sounds like some good conversations can happen. The next one we are reading is "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", have you read that one?

Good BC report, btw!

kelly said...

Hi there - love your blog! Just wanted to say that i read this book recently in my "mother/daughter book club." It has a certain fairy tale quality to it, despite the violence. Hmmm . . .a dark absurdist fairy tale maybe.

Kelly Simmons, author of Standing Still, www.bykellysimmons.com

Staci said...

I would love a real life book club. I've been thinking of reading this one for some time now. Glad you enjoyed it!

Ladytink_534 said...

I've heard good things about this since it came out. I haven't decided if I'm going to read it or not but it does sound like a good book club read.

prashant said...

I'll like all of this book!
I also am jealous that you have a book club.

Work from home India

celi.a said...

I adore the absurd, and I've been meaning to read this one for quite a while. Sometime soon...

Amy said...

I loved this book!

Charley said...

This book is on my list. I'm not sure if I have an appreciation for the absurd. I guess I'll find out.

Beth Kephart said...

one of my favorite books of this year. love that you all read it!

Heather Zundel said...

Good (and short) rendition. Does it become more speculative fiction at the end then?

Lenore said...

Heather - No, it doesn't go that far! But it is absurd in a realistic way.

stacybuckeye said...

I like to think I have an appreciation for the absurd, so I'll have to look for this one.

Diane said...

I have this book on my shelves and have heard good things about it. I bet it made a good discussion subject. Happy holidays Lenore.

Lisa said...

Good book clubs are hard to find.

I read The Good Thief a while back and really enjoyed it. A good choice for a book club, I think.