The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

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Richly imagined, gothically spooky, and replete with the ingenious storytelling ability of a born novelist, The Good Thief introduces one of the most appealing young heroes in contemporary fiction and ratifies Hannah Tinti as one of our most exciting new talents.

Twelve year-old Ren is missing his left hand. How it was lost is a mystery that Ren has been trying to solve for his entire life, as well as who his parents are, and why he was abandoned as an infant at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage for boys. He longs for a family to call his own and is terrified of the day he will be sent alone into the world.

But then a young man named Benjamin Nab appears, claiming to be Ren’s long-lost brother, and his convincing tale of how Ren lost his hand and his parents persuades the monks at the orphanage to release the boy and to give Ren some hope. But is Benjamin really who he says he is? Journeying through a New England of whaling towns and meadowed farmlands, Ren is introduced to a vibrant world of hardscrabble adventure filled with outrageous scam artists, grave robbers, and petty thieves. If he stays, Ren becomes one of them. If he goes, he’s lost once again. As Ren begins to find clues to his hidden parentage he comes to suspect that Benjamin not only holds the key to his future, but to his past as well.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Hannah Tinti

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Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, Story Quarterly, and Epoch, among other publications. She is currently the editor of One Story magazine.
Published August 19, 2008 by The Dial Press. 327 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Good Thief

The New York Times

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Hannah Tinti’s debut novel is an American Dickensian tale with touches of Harry Potterish whimsy, along with a macabre streak of spooky New England history.

Aug 28 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

The New York Times

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In Hannah Tinti’s first novel, a con man teaches an orphan the art of the lie.

Sep 26 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

The Guardian

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Ren, the good thief of the title, grows up in a stern orphanage in even sterner 19th-century New England.

Jul 25 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

AV Club

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There, Tinti unveils wonder after dark wonder, from the mousetrap factory staffed entirely by ugly young women to a gigantic killer who becomes Ren's closest friend.

Sep 17 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

The Bookbag

So when Benjamin Nab comes along and announces he is Ren's long-lost brother, Ren is sent along with him.

Jan 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief


Ren has long desired a family, but Benjamin, a great teller of tales, does not provide the family Ren had imagined.

Jan 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

Bookmarks Magazine

Hannah Tinti, cofounder and editor of One Story magazine and author of the short story collection Animal Crackers ( 4 of 5 Stars July/Aug 2004), successfully adapts Charles Dickens in this adventurous tale of a young orphan in 19th-century New England.

Sep 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

The Age

Fragments of Ren's early life come to light and a series of revelations unravel with grace and skill until the truth about Ren's past finally plays out.

Aug 25 2008 | Read Full Review of The Good Thief

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