Review by Book Club: The Open Book
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The Good People by Hannah Kent
Hedged in by gossip and joined by their desperation, three women in nineteenth-century Ireland are drawn together in the hope of rescuing a child from a superstitious community, determined to rid itself of the strange and unknowable.
What we thought!
“I love Hannah Kent’s writing. Her language is very descriptive and evocative. She seems to have captured the folklore and “religiosity” of Ireland in those days gone by.
However I got impatient with the actual people and their belief in fairies (the good people) who seemed to be malevolent, and who seemed to blame them for their fate.”
– Katie, 7/10
“I read it for the second time and enjoyed it more. This doesn’t mean it was a happy or uplifting story but it was enlightening to read about life in Ireland in the early 19th century and how miserable it was with the suspicion of everything out of the ordinary. Hannah has done a great job of her description of the people, Kate especially was such a nasty person. The myths that bound the people to such a miserable life to our time is hard to comprehend and I’m glad I didn’t live then.” – Sue, 9/10
“What a depressing read. Glad I finished it. Pointless rubbish masquerading as a novel. Few likable characters. The gloom and the stark reality made for a sad, hard read. Should have been called The Bad Read.” – Carmel, 2/10
“Strong relationship between Nora and Martin– her grief when he died was moving. Great description of the countryside, hardship of their everyday lives and the weather. It was a compelling read, loved the language. Wonderful writing…”an old broom knows the corners best.” – Sam, 7.5/10
“Enjoyed this immensely. Loved the descriptive writing. Felt sorry for Nora– the position she was in.” – Irene, 9/10
“Hannah Kent has again done great research and has presented us with real characters, while conveying the harshness of the landscape and the poverty in which they struggle. This is a society where these poor and sad people were bullied into faith and away from their escape in hope and dreams. The author avoids confronting the issues and ails to give fullness and life to the characters with real outcomes; which made this book disappointing for me.” – Patricia, 7/10
“A thorough investigation of the suspicion and beliefs of an uneducated ignorant society; inbred peasants working exceedingly hard. Have we changed? 100 years after the events of this book Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was convinced by the Cottingley Fairies.” – Doug, 8/10