Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Hamilton CaseThe Hamilton Case by Michelle de Kretser

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While the book begins with the compelling narrative of the central figure Sam Obeysekere who functions as a typically unreliable narrator, it loses momentum when it switches to other points of view—his wife, his mother—in the second part. It comes back into focus at the end when it begins to offer other possibilities for the solution of the Hamilton murder. Then when it refuses to certify any one of the solutions as the truth, it raises the interesting philosophical question of whether truth is ever possible. There is also an interesting idea in the assertion that people's actions are determined by their narrative expectancies. This would be true of the Hamilton murder, but true of the novel itself. Sam is the person he is because of what the narrative expects of him. In a sense, he is a symbol of the man who creates himself in the image of what he thinks the world expects him to be.

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