book crush friday: The Good Thief

At times Ren felt like he was reading fragments of his own dreams, reassembled into words that pulled at his heart, as if there were a string tied somewhere inside his chest that ran down into the book and attached itself to the characters, drawing him through the pages. The boy read and read and read and read. -- The Good Thief, Hannah Tinti

Every now and then, I itch to read a literary novel. Just to prove I'm an adult, or a successful English major. Or maybe to give the librarians a break from handing me huge stacks of middle grade fantasy.

Who knows why it strikes, but the solution is usually to pick one of those books that says in the blurbs on the back that it has luminous writing.

Luminous writing. I love that. You can read them in bed after dark, and you don't need a flashlight or a lamp, nothing--the words glow in the dark. You should try this. Probably tonight.


Actually, I suspect I'm not grown up enough to read most literary novels, never mind the English major. I don't think I appreciate them like I'm supposed to. I give up about three or four chapters into stories of semi-psychologically-tortured-women-returning-home-or-having-affairs-and-then-not-finding-a-real-resolution-to-any-of-their-problems... I just can't take that kind of storyline. I want to strangle the characters. I say rude things about them.

Also, good English majors probably do not laugh at so-called "luminous" books. Sigh. I might be a hopeless case.

In spite of all this, my curiosity gets the better of my reason, my craving for gorgeous writing builds to a pitch, and I start looking around for another literary-ish novel.

So recently, I picked up The Good Thief, enticed, I admit, by the cover. And inside, it was everything I was in the mood for, without knowing it. I mean--really, it hit me just right. Hannah Tinti is a truly stunning writer: I'm in awe of her sentences. Really. And there's a fantastic cast of unusual characters... and, let me be honest, most of this book is quite bizarre.

And I love bizarre.

There's the mousetrap factory, the ever-shouting Mrs. Sands, the dwarf on the rooftops, Dolly the giant, grave robbers, the enigmatic Benjamin, and through it all, there is Ren. One-handed Ren, finally out of the Saint Anthony orphanage, hoping to find out about his parents, hoping to somehow navigate the weird and wonderful world of this book.

Okay. I loved this. I'm flipping through my copy as I type this, rereading my favorite moments. There's such a brilliant mix of the deeply believable and the highly bizarre...

I want to lean close and reread chapters of it to you, just so you get a feel for it... but maybe I'll just let you discover it for yourself. You'll love it.

Like I said, it was exactly what I wanted.

Recommendation: This book makes me think of a patch of sunlight, a slice of apple cake, and a cup of black coffee. Yes. Read it while there's still a little chill in the air.

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