Read The Good People Online

Authors: Hannah Kent

Tags: #Fiction, #Family Life, #Historical, #Literary, #Small Town & Rural, #General

The Good People

The Good People
Hannah Kent
Pan Macmillan (2017)
Tags: Fiction, Family Life, Historical, Literary, Small Town & Rural, General
Fictionttt Family Lifettt Historicalttt Literaryttt Small Town & Ruralttt Generalttt

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825. NÓRA, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheál. Micheál cannot speak and cannot walk and Nóra is desperate to know what is wrong with him. What happened to the healthy, happy grandson she met when her daughter was still alive?MARY arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. NANCE's knowledge keeps her apart. To the new priest, she is a threat, but to the valley people she is a wanderer, a healer. Nance knows how to use the plants and berries of the woodland; she understands the magic in the old ways. And she might be able to help Micheál. As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheál, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.Based on true events and set in a lost world bound by its own laws, The Good People is Hannah Kent's startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this long-awaited follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers.

About
The Good People

In the year 1825, in a remote valley lying between the mountains of south0west Ireland, near the Flesk river of Killarney, three women are brought together by strange and troubling events.

Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.

Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow's house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken . . .


The Good People
takes us straight to a place utterly unexpected and believable, where amidst the earnest mayhem people impose on each other, there is no patronising quaintness, but a compelling sense of the inevitability of solemn horrors.’

Winner of the Booker Prize and Miles Franklin Literary Award –

TOM KENEALLY

Contents

Cover

About
The Good People

Dedication

Map

Irish ballad

Epigraph

PART ONE

CHAPTER ONE: COLTSFOOT

CHAPTER TWO: FURZE

CHAPTER THREE: RAGWORT

CHAPTER FOUR: ASH

CHAPTER FIVE: ALDER

PART TWO

CHAPTER SIX: NETTLE

CHAPTER SEVEN: DOCK

CHAPTER EIGHT: YARROW

CHAPTER NINE: SELFHEAL

CHAPTER TEN: HOGWEED

CHAPTER ELEVEN: FOXGLOVE

CHAPTER TWELVE: GERMANDER SPEEDWELL

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: DEVIL’S-BIT SCABIOUS

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: HART’S TONGUE

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: OAK

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: YELLOW IRIS

PART THREE

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: BRAMBLE

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: WHITEHORN

CHAPTER NINETEEN: MINT

CHAPTER TWENTY: ELDER

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: HEATHER

Author’s Note

Acknowledgements

About Hannah Kent

Also by Hannah Kent

Praise and accolades for Burial Rites

Copyright page

For my sister, Briony.

There was an old woman and she lived in the woods,
weile weile waile.
There was an old woman and she lived in the woods
down by the river Saile.
She had a baby three months old,
weile weile waile.
She had a baby three months old
down by the river Saile.
She had a penknife, long and sharp,
weile weile waile.
She had a penknife long and sharp
down by the river Saile.
She stuck the penknife in the baby’s heart,
weile weile waile.
She stuck the penknife in the baby’s heart
down by the river Saile.
Three hard knocks came knocking on the door,
weile weile waile.
Three hard knocks came knocking on the door
down by the river Saile.
‘Are you the woman that killed the child?’
weile weile waile.
‘Are you the woman that killed the child
down by the river Saile?’
The rope was pulled and she got hung,
weile weile waile.
The rope was pulled and she got hung
down by the river Saile.
And that was the end of the woman in the woods,
weile weile waile.
And that was the end of the woman in the woods
down by the river Saile.
Traditional Irish Murder Ballad, c. 1600
When all is said and done, how do we not know but that our own unreason may be better than another’s truth? for it has been warmed on our hearths and in our souls, and is ready for the wild bees of truth to hive in it, and make their sweet honey. Come into the world again, wild bees, wild bees!

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