June 2022

167084

The Good People is set in a perpetually soggy valley in 1820s County Kerry. But while folkloric beliefs and superstitions were a background presence in Kent’s debut, Burial Rites, here they take centre stage. The Good People is pervaded with dark talk of curses and changelings, herbal remedies and rituals designed to ward off the mischief of the “Good People” (or fairies) of the title. This is a serious and compelling novel, based on a documented court case, about how those in desperate circumstances cling to ritual to cope with their own powerlessness.
The story opens when Nora Leahy’s husband, Martin, drops dead for no apparent reason at the crossroads where the village buries its suicides. This is a world of freezing dirt-floored cabins, where the inhabitants subsist on a diet of potatoes and tobacco. During the wake an eccentric old woman – the “herb hag” Nance Roach – arrives to offer her keening services. Nance is blessed with knowledge not only of remedies provided by local herbs and plants, but also of the ways of the Good People.

Kent explores how competing ideas – religious, medical, folkloric – try to make sense of the bad stuff that happens. 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.

The Good People moves more slowly – some thought TOO slowly – and more quietly than Burial Rites, exploring grief, desperation and ignorance with a tender heart.

The Booklovers Group generally enjoyed Kent’s richly textured writing, with the result of transporting the reader deep into the rural Irish lifestyle of the early nineteenth century. There was much discussion of the verdict reached in the court case, with theories about how and why these decisions were made.
With thanks to reviews on the Internet.

Ratings: Viv 2.5; Jen, Cheryl, Nicola 3; Janet, Jenny, Margie, Pauline 3.5; Lynda, Di, Dianne and Sandy 4.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday 12/07/2022 at 6:30pm at the QCWA Mermaid Beach Centre located in 43 Ventura Rd, Mermaid Beach.

Come and join us to discuss Seed to Dust by Marc Hamer. Hope to see you there and Happy Reading!

The 2022 Reading List can be found here.

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

QCWAhouse We normally meet at the QCWA Mermaid Centre at 43 Ventura Rd Mermaid Beach on the second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them at the first meeting attended.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2022 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device at the bottom of the page.

CONTACT DETAILS

Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.
 

 

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