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Dear Thief

by Samantha Harvey

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15215181,828 (3.58)30
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From acclaimed Orange Prize and Guardian First Book Award finalist Samantha Harvey, a stunning novel of female friendship, betrayal, and revenge

"You were going to work your way into my marriage and you were going to call its new three-way shape holy," writes the unnamed narrator of Dear Thief.

The thief is Nina, or Butterfly, who disappeared eighteen years earlier and who is being summoned by this letter, this bomb, these recollections, revisions, accusations, and confessions.

"Sometimes I imagine, out of sheer playfulness, that I am writing this as a kind of defence for having murdered and buried you under the patio."

Dear Thief is a letter to an old friend, a song, a jewel, and a continuously surprising triangular love story. Samantha Harvey writes with a dazzling blend of fury and beauty about the need for human connection and the brutal vulnerability that need exposes.

"While I write my spare hand might be doing anything for all you know; it might be driving a pin into your voodoo stomach."

Dear Thief is a rare novel that traverses the human heart in a striking and indelible way.

.
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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
As this book was sitting for years on the TBR, I forgot its themes or plot, so I kept it mysterious and delved into it. First, the cover seems misleading and I'm not sure how it fits? I want to keep it mysterious for other readers, so I won't be saying much. I will say though, that this sort of topic might be something that other writers can't pull off in my opinion... for this reader the plot would be bland and stale. BUT. Harvey does wonderful things on a sentence level, and sometimes it's the sentence style that can really carry a book for me, no matter the topic. And this is one of those, with its lovely appreciation of moments, small details and sentences. The book is like one of my favorite subtitled black and white movies that lingers on the little details. Am I being vague intentionally? Yes, as I would like this book to remain a mystery until others read it... though this is a good one to read if you want lighter problems in these dark times... If you like this book try:
The Dictionary of Animal Languages - Heidi Sopinka
Her Here - Amanda Dennis
Luster - Raven Leilani
Say Say Say - Lila Savage
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers - Tom Rachman
I realize some don't like comparing books to other books, but I like to place them on a spiderweb map, or a shelf in my mind. I think the books can only compliment each other! ( )
  booklove2 | Jan 10, 2022 |
Beautiful, thoughtful, dark & sharp, this letter to a best friend, Nina (aka Butterfly) written by the unnamed narrator will absorb you, then stay with you! ( )
  ShannonRose4 | Sep 15, 2020 |
I am entirely uncertain what to make of this. It is set up as a letter written by a middle aged woman to someone she hasn;t seen in 15 years. Through the course of the letter, you discover who the woman is and what the absent person has stolen from her. Or did she, was it more she was allowed to steat this? It is very winding and continually uncovers layers of meaning, as the letter progresses, over months, the back story becomes more filled in, but I;m not sure it necessarily makes it any more comprehensible. On one level it was very sefl absorbed, having little considereation for the recipent, and yet it somehow kept me reading. I'm not sure any of those involved came across as terribly likeable in various ways, with the letter writer actually becomming less perfect, but more human, as the letter progressed. I'm not sure that I would want someone to disect my life in quite this much forensic detail, as I fear we would all come out of it somewhat less than we imagine ourselves. The writing was stylish, the surmise somewhat odd, the whole somewhat unsatisfying. we don;t actually achoeve any resolution and I'm not sure that this helps the letter writer either. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 6, 2019 |
Because of the way the novel is structured (as a letter to another character), the very fine writing only made me frustrated with the narrator. “You are a fabulous writer who exhibits a great deal of self-awareness,” I wanted to say, “so maybe get up and do something with your life instead of spending several months reliving the past?” (True enough, the protagonist says, “On the whole I do not think of you anymore,” but since a two-hundred page letter follows that declaration, it is difficult to believe.) It is perhaps a tribute to Harvey’s skill as a writer that the book evoked such strong feelings of exasperation in me; there were moment when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake some sense into the protagonist. And yet the book left me frustrated: is this the best use of Harvey’s talent? All those beautiful sentences in service of this story? ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Beautifully written! Both lush and spare, detached and intimate. "Dear Thief" has echoes of Anne Carson's "Beauty of the Husband" and Marguerite Duras' "The Lover." ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

From acclaimed Orange Prize and Guardian First Book Award finalist Samantha Harvey, a stunning novel of female friendship, betrayal, and revenge

"You were going to work your way into my marriage and you were going to call its new three-way shape holy," writes the unnamed narrator of Dear Thief.

The thief is Nina, or Butterfly, who disappeared eighteen years earlier and who is being summoned by this letter, this bomb, these recollections, revisions, accusations, and confessions.

"Sometimes I imagine, out of sheer playfulness, that I am writing this as a kind of defence for having murdered and buried you under the patio."

Dear Thief is a letter to an old friend, a song, a jewel, and a continuously surprising triangular love story. Samantha Harvey writes with a dazzling blend of fury and beauty about the need for human connection and the brutal vulnerability that need exposes.

"While I write my spare hand might be doing anything for all you know; it might be driving a pin into your voodoo stomach."

Dear Thief is a rare novel that traverses the human heart in a striking and indelible way.

.

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