The best book I’ve read in a long time is Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief. It reminds me of the Dickensian orphan-waif genre, except told with such astonishing wit that it emerges as something entirely unique. The story starts off in an orphanage, with all the boys praying to be adopted by some of the rarely-appearing adults. Our hero, Ren, however seems an unlikely candidate. Because he only has one hand.
And yet, one day, a stranger appears, declares Ren his long-lost brother, and the two of them ride off into the early nineteenth century night of New Hampshire. The man turns to Ren, early in the ride and tells him what he already suspects: “I’m not your brother.” The gruesome question thus becomes: what does he want the child for?
The clear answer: Nothing good.
It’s been a long time since I’ve so wholly fallen into the conjured world of a novel. I did so with this book. And felt bereaved when it was over. What a fine book.