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The Good People Hardcover – 9 February 2017

4.2 out of 5 stars 280 ratings

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Hardcover, 9 February 2017
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An intricate, heartbreaking portrayal of three women and the conflict between religious belief and folklore * Stylist * Hauntingly poetic and evocative * Daily Express * Kent has a wonderful talent for taking fragments of historical facts and breathing life into them through her fiction. She has matched her debut with another disturbing and haunting novel * Sunday Herald * This novel is about love and its limitations * Psychologies * Gripping and compelling * Mail on Sunday * Beautifully written . . . gripping * Grazia * The Good People is an even better novel than Burial Rites - a starkly realised tale of love, grief and misconcieved beliefs * Sunday Times * This disturbing tale of superstition is full of emotion * Woman & Home * Atmospheric * Good Housekeeping * The Good People is a sensitively drawn tale of love, grief, and terrible loss, set in a tiny Irish village in the early 19th century . . . filled with descriptions of ritual and rhythm * Canberra Times * A sensitively drawn tale of love, grief, and terrible loss * The Age * Remarkable . . . 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 . . . a haunting novel, shrewdly conceived and beautifully written * The Australian * Hannah Kent has terrific form as a historical novelist - her highly acclaimed debut, Burial Rites, set in a 19th-century Icelandic village, was shortlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction. This novel, based on a true story, is even better. As the tale slowly builds, Kent creates an immersive, startlingly lyrical portrait of a time when the borders between logic and superstition were dangerously porous and where the Catholic church is determined to strengthen its grip . . . thrillingly alive to the dynamic of poor, close-knit communities, where fear of the outsider trumps reason and compassion * Metro * An imaginative tour-de-force that recreates a way of perceiving the world with extraordinary vividness . . . With its exquisite prose, this harrowing, haunting narrative of love and suffering is sure to be a prize-winner * Daily Mail * Kent's immersion and passion for her subject is evident - even the cadence of the characters' speech in the novel is exact and authentic * Irish Independent * The Good People transports us to Co Kerry, west Ireland, in 1826 . . . Kent doesn't just show us rural Ireland; she lets us smell it, touch it and feel it too, from the heat of the turf fires to the sharp, bitter smell of a woman, fresh in from the rain . . . The Good People lies somewhere between Andrew Michael Hurley's gothic The Loney and Emma Donoghue's latest novel, The Wonder . . . an absorbing and imaginative novel about superstition and the old ways * Times * Hannah Kent's second novel is a thorough study of the faiths and rituals of a rural community, as well as a poignant portrayal of grief * Financial Times * The Good People is a novel about how competing systems of thought - religious, medical, folkloric and, eventually, legal - attempt to make sense of the bad stuff that happens. Significantly, the novel is set in a valley, a place cut off from the outside world. The community - and the novel - feels claustrophobic. The characters are trapped in their crucible of mutterings and gossip by a combination of geography, ancestry and poverty. It is to Kent's credit that she never passes judgment on her protagonists' beliefs, even as they lead them to ever more extreme, even insane, behaviour . . . Kent has a terrific feel for the language of her setting. The prose is richly textured with evocative vocabulary - skib, spancel, creepie stool . . . the overall result is to transport the reader deep into the rural Irish hinterlands. This is a serious and compelling novel about how those in desperate circumstances cling to ritual as a bulwark against their own powerlessness -- Graeme Macrae Burnet * Guardian * Beautiful . . . the setting and the characters drew me in immediately and kept me completely absorbed -- Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow The Good People is, like Burial Rites, a thoroughly engrossing entree into the macabre nature of a vanished society, its virtues and its follies and its lethal impulses. The Good People takes us straight to a place utterly unexpected and believable, where amidst the earnest mayhem people impose on each other, there is no patronizing quaintness, but a compelling sense of the inevitability of solemn horrors -- Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's Ark (winner of the Booker Prize) 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, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train Kent conjures up with exceptional intensity and empathy a world in which folk beliefs hold as much sway over people's minds as religious faith . . . It would have been all too easy to present this story as a conflict between rational enlightenment and peasant superstition, but the main strength of Kent's narrative is that it avoids such a simple dichotomy. 'I have told you my truth,' Nance tells the court during the trial scenes that provide the book's climax. Such is the power of Kent's imaginative sympathy with her characters that this becomes not merely the mantra of a deluded old woman, but a moving statement of her continuing faith in her own vision of the way the world works . . . The Good People is an even better novel than Burial Rites - a starkly realised tale of love, grief and misconceived beliefs * Sunday Times *

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.

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Top international reviews

Roz Bailey
3.0 out of 5 stars Unremittingly maudlin
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 September 2017
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Starfish57
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 February 2017
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Denis Mc Carthy
4.0 out of 5 stars Away with the Fairies
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 March 2017
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J Hutch
3.0 out of 5 stars Away with the fairies
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 February 2018
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BP
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful evocation of an alien world
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 October 2017
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Christine Puckering
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully atmospheric and plunges the reader straight into the culture of Ireland of previous times.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 April 2017
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Mrs Tina K Wakeford
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read. It was very well written and interesting ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 January 2018
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Avril Suddaby
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written. She makes the time she writes about ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 February 2018
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Mewe Mechese
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Burial Rites.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 March 2019
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Gameplayer
2.0 out of 5 stars The Good People
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2018
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Kim&Edward
4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting book about a woman in 1800s Ireland who ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 April 2018
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Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 October 2019
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Poppyfields
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 June 2017
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dee
3.0 out of 5 stars Life in a bygone age
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2017
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A. J. Botterill
2.0 out of 5 stars slow and boring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 February 2019
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