"Every once in a while — if you are very lucky — you come upon a novel so marvelous and enchanting and rare that you wish everyone in the world would read it, as well. The Good Thief is just such a book — a beautifully composed work of literary magic."—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
"Darkly transporting ... [In] The Good Thief, the reader can find plain-spoken fiction full of traditional virtues: strong plotting, pure lucidity, visceral momentum and a total absence of writerly mannerisms. In Ms. Tinti’s case that means an American Dickensian tale with touches of Harry Potterish whimsy, along with a macabre streak of spooky New England history."—New York Times
"Tinti, like John Barth with his postmodern picturesque classic, The Sot-Weed Factor, has created one of the freshest, most beguiling narratives this side of Oliver Twist."—O: The Oprah Magazine
"Hannah Tinti has written a lightning strike of a novel—beautiful and haunting and ever so bright. She is a 21st century Robert Louis Stevenson, an adventuress who lays bare her character's hearts with a precision and a fearlessness that will leave you shaken." —Junot Díaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
"The Good Thief's characters are weird and wonderful.... [It] has all the makings of a classic—a hero, a villain and a rollicking good tale set in 19th century New England about a good boy who gets mixed up with a lot of bad men.... All of that, along with its humor, ingenuity and fast pace, make The Good Thief compelling."—San Francisco Chronicle
“Ren lives every child's fantasy, to leave a mundane life for an adventure in which he discovers who he was supposed to be and who he could yet become…. [His] mischievous ways earned the character comparisons to Huck Finn and Oliver Twist. And the plot, which winds its way through a mousetrap factory and the memory of a family tragedy, certainly give him a literary playground in which to frolic.”—Associated Press
"The Good Thief is a dark, Dickensian fable filled with enough surprises to keep a reader turning pages long past midnight. Irresistibly strange, and just plain irresistible."—Karl Iagnemma
“The Good Thief is wry, wise, deeply felt and ingeniously plotted, a wonderful, riveting spin on the tale of abandoned boys gone bad, or good, or both. Move over Huck Finn and Oliver Twist, make room for Ren, The Good Thief's one handed but quick fingered and witted orphan, thief, hero — I loved him, and his book.” — Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England
"The Good Thief is a book that deserves comparison to the work of classic authors like Robert Louis Stevenson and Charles Dickens—not only because it's a remarkable piece of work, but also because it reminded me of what it used to be like, when I was a kid, to be truly engrossed in a book. You lift your head and hours have passed, and you realize that you've been utterly drawn into a world that is as vivid and real as your own. A masterful achievement."—Dan Chaon, author of National Book Award finalist Among the Missing, and You Remind Me of Me
“The Good Thief is a magical book. Everything worth writing about is in it: love, death and—more than anything else—family. I wish I'd written it.”—Daniel Wallace author of Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician
"Hannah Tinti writes with uncommon grace and stunning insight. Her quirky tribe of outcasts will break into your dreams and steal your spirit. Surrender to them! Let your heart be broken! Only then will you know the tender thrill of their wild companionship. The Good Thief is pure delight. When you wake from this dream, you will wake bedazzled".—Melanie Rae Thon, author of Iona Moon and Sweet Hearts
“The key to Tinti's success with this novel is the constant tension between tenderness and peril, a tension that she ratchets up until the final pages…. [With] enough harrowing scrapes and turns to satisfy your inner Dickens.”—Washington Post Book World
“A debut novel so rich that you'll hope it becomes the first in a series…. Part coming-of-age tale and part pure adventure, The Good Thief evokes Charles Dickens with its blend of humor, social commentary and poignancy.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Tightly plotted, unmannered, irresistible. Tinti writes in a lean, pitch-perfect prose that grabs the reader's mind and won't let go. The incidents she relates are dark and grim, but the telling leaves room for humanity and humor.”—Orlando Sentinel
“Difficult to put down…A cavalcade of chase scenes, suspenseful moments and revelations.”—Seattle Times
“The kind of story that might have kept you reading all day when you were home sick from school…. Writing for adults while keeping to a child’s perspective isn’t easy, and Tinti makes it look effortless.”—New York Times Book Review
“Tinti secures her place as one of the sharpest, slyest young American novelists."—Entertainment Weekly (A-)
“[A] striking debut novel…Unfolds like a Robert Louis Stevenson tale retold amid the hardscrabble squalor of Colonial New England. The sheer strangeness of the story is beguiling…Good fun.”—The New Yorker
“A very good book indeed…Reminds you why you fell in love with reading in the first place…Tinti’s imaginative powers…reacquaint us with our own. And that’s a gift to be cherished…”—Boston Globe
“[A] dark but nimble variation on that favorite 19th-century literary trope, the woeful orphan story…. Ren becomes the surprising moral center of a colorful band of misfits and grave robbers. His sentimental education about what it means to be a ‘good’ boy makes for a Dickens of a tale.”—USAToday.com
"In her highly original debut novel, [Tinti] renders the horrors and wonders she concocts utterly believable and rich in implication as she creates a darkly comedic and bewitching, sinister yet life-affirming tale about the eternal battle between good and evil." —Booklist, starred review
“Ren, with his love for religion and penchant for thievery, is immediately likeable…. A novel full of scams, shams and underhanded deals and populated by hustlers, thieves and grave robbers.”—Publishers Weekly
“Marvelously satisfying...rich with sensory details, surprising twists and living, breathing characters to root for." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Bracing—and embracing … etches Hannah Tinti’s name on the literary map.”—Go: AirTran Magazine
It may be too quaint to imagine there are still families reading aloud together at night (so many Web sites, so little time), but if you're out there, consider Hannah Tinti's charming first novel. Set in the dark woods of 19th-century New England, The Good Thief follows a bright, one-handed orphan through enough harrowing scrapes and turns to satisfy your inner Dickens…Ren's plight is creaky with sentimentality, but Tinti knows how to keep her balance as she steps through these hoary conventions of Victorian melodrama. By the time she finishes describing Ren's little collection of stolen objects and his muted despair, I wanted to sign the adoption papers myself.
The Washington Post
Recently in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and now in The Good Thief, the reader can find plain-spoken fiction full of traditional virtues: strong plotting, pure lucidity, visceral momentum and a total absence of writerly mannerisms. In Ms. Tinti's case that means an American Dickensian tale with touches of Harry Potterish whimsy, along with a macabre streak of spooky New England history.
The New York Times
The effect of Tinti's steady, authoritative style is to make odd and extraordinary events seem natural: if she says there are hat boys and mousetrap girls, there are. And because of the seeming transparency of the narrator, we experience the world as Ren does, and feel his fear, unfiltered, when he's left alone with a wagonload of corpses and one of them sits up. Writing for adults while keeping to a child's perspective isn't easy, and Tinti makes it look effortless. And it is a book for adults, in addition to being the kind of story that might have kept you reading all day when you were home sick from school. It's about the nature of familyRen's band of outlaws turns out to be more sustaining than the family he longed forbut it's also about the nature of storytelling, about invention's claims on the truth.
The New York Times Book Review
William Dufris handles this book as it was intended—as a sendup of several genres. He brings to life Tinti's family of orphans, grave robbers, scam artists, drunks and assorted freaks, narrating as though telling terrifying tales to Boy Scouts around a campfire. His children are squeaky-voiced, his adults harsh and raspy. He moves easily through successions of melodramatic scenes alternately ghoulish, maudlin, violent, gothic and hokey. Adults who love high camp and young adults who savor tales of blood and gore will eat it up. A Dial hardcover. (Aug.)
This recipient of the 2008 American Library Association's Alex Award solidifies Tinti (Animal Crackers) as one of the most exciting new novelists of our time. Her gothic depiction of a gritty Colonial New England provides the perfect backdrop for this bizarre tale of a light-fingered, one-handed adolescent who is rescued from a Catholic orphanage only to be introduced to an ethereal underworld of charismatic grave robbers, gargantuan assassins, rooftop-dwelling dwarves, black-market dentists, and somewhat sanguinary surgeons. William Dufris (the original voice of Bob the Builder in the animated TV series of the same name) jumps among the myriad characters convincingly and without missing a beat. Recommended for YA and adult audiences who appreciate all-boys adventures in the vein of Dickens and Twain.—Isela Peña-Rager, San Dimas, CA
In this dark but rousing 19th-century picaresque about a one-handed orphan who falls in with rogues, Tinti (stories: Animal Crackers, 2004) pays homage to 19th-century biggies, particularly Twain, Dickens and Stevenson, creating a fictional world unique yet hauntingly familiar. Abandoned as a baby wearing a jacket with the initials REN sewn in the collar, 12-year-old Ren lives in St. Anthony's monastery until a man arrives and claims him as his long-lost brother. Benjamin Nab is a small-time swindler/crook of all mistrades who sees Ren's handicap as a useful conning tool. That Ren is also a natural thief, despite his devout Catholicism (he steals The Lives of the Saints), is a bonus. Soon Benjamin and his partner Tom, a former schoolteacher and erudite drunk, take Ren to grim North Umbrage, a former mining town where the only employer is a mousetrap factory run by the tyrant McGinty. Tom, Benjamin and Ren board with a stern but soft-hearted widow whose well-read dwarf brother lives on her roof, dropping through the chimney daily for his supper. The men strike a lucrative deal with a local surgeon to steal bodies, and for a while life is good. While charming, untrustworthy Benjamin (picture Johnny Depp) spins one tale after another to get his crew out of scrapes, Ren picks up pieces of Benjamin and Tom's sad true stories. Tom, who turned to crime out of guilt over his best friend's suicide, adopts Ren's twin best friends from the monastery and brings them into the band, along with Dolly, the gentle giant and hired killer who the grave robbers discover has been buried prematurely. The tale darkens after McGinty's vicious henchmen catch the thieves in the cemetery. McGinty frees the otherbut keeps Ren, claiming he is actually the rich man's bastard nephew whom McGinty blames for his sister's death. As more facts come out, Ren learns his true identity. Marvelously satisfying hokum, rich with sensory details, surprising twists and living, breathing characters to root for. Agent: Nicole Aragi/Aragi Inc.