The Hamilton Case Paperback – 2 Sep 2004
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"A novel so delicious that you have to keep stopping as you read, for fear of finishing too soon" (Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph)
"A bewitching tale...an utterly captivating blend of intellectual muscle and story-telling magic" (Independent)
"Reminiscent of The Remains of the Day. De Kretser has given us the classic whodunnit wrapped up in a beautiful and tragic literary novel" (Vogue)
"Haunting, lush and delicately nuanced" (Observer)
"Rewarding, thought-provoking, witty and often disconcerting, the novel takes the reader into a world of transformations - conjuring a fiction which is tantalizingly vivid" (Times Literary Supplement)
'A mesmeric study of a family, a scandal and a murder, set in Ceylon in the 1930s. (Booker judges, where were you?)' Hilary Mantel, Daily TelegraphSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There are moments - many - in this novel when you feel that the author has expressed an idea or understanding that you have felt but never articulated and the reader is both grateful and full of admiration for the writer's skill.
The book is also about how we try to make narratives out of the chaotic events of our lives and as a narrative it excels.
Now I have finished the book I feel quite desperate to find another of this calibre. It is so rare to feel this and I am extremely grateful for the experience.
The glory of this novel lies in its prose - musicality drips off every page, so much so that one is lulled into a false sense of beauty and often has to re-read a paragraph just to make sure that such finely crafted words really could have said something so horrific. The story - even the action surround the Hamilton case, the murder of white farmer, in which Stanley makes his name - is consistently understated and the delivery always deviously subtle. The substance of the story itself though is insipid and, frankly, dull. It's a shame that such fine words have been wasted on something so insubstantial: it's all sugar and no meat. I cannot understand how this book could have won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, but it did.
From the outset, an unexpected wry or brutal observation hits home, as when we are told how Sam's grandfather met his death after gallantly leaping into a lake to save a young English girl who had fallen overboard. In "extreme distress at seeing her ... a sweet girl on the threshold of womanhood, being manhandled by a native," a friend "in understandable terror, confusion and distress...brought her oar crashing down" on his skull. For this she was of course absolved of all blame.
On reaching Part 3, I seemed to have strayed into a different book which had lost the plot. The short chapters cease to be so alluring as they flit between characters: Sam's eccentric mother, his wife, son, several servants, etcetera. Substance gives way to form, in a style that begins to pall - too wordy and contrived, over-poetical. Sometimes the prose is beautiful and striking, but too often it appears self-indulgent padding.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whilst I agree with the reviews that say the book is well written - and it is- I found the purpose I bought it for did not work i.e. light holiday reading. Read morePublished 16 months ago by H.L
I found it ok, but not one I would recommend. I did finish it though, so not a total noPublished 23 months ago by Rachel
I purchased this book set in Ceylon to read on my recent holiday to Sri Lanka. I found it Ok to read but found the plot very thin and I am really not sure why it is called the... Read morePublished on 1 July 2013 by J A Stone
Ceylon, now, of course, Sri Lanka, as Shivanathan says in his letter that ends the book, written to Harry, the youngest of the Obeyeskeres: "I loved the dash of it, as a boy: a... Read morePublished on 10 Jan. 2012 by Eileen Shaw