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Devotion Hardcover – 26 October 2021
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BOOKTOPIA'S FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2021
Hanne Nussbaum is a child of nature - she would rather run wild in the forest than conform to the limitations of womanhood. In her village of Kay, Hanne is friendless and considered an oddity . . . until she meets Thea.
The Nussbaums are Old Lutherans, bound by God's law and at odds with their King's order for reform. Forced to flee religious persecution the families of Kay board a crowded, disease-riddled ship bound for the new colony of South Australia. In the face of brutal hardship, the beauty of whale song enters Hanne's heart, along with the miracle of her love for Thea. Theirs is a bond that nothing can break.
The whale passed. The music faded.
South Australia, 1838
A new start in an old land. God, society and nature itself decree Hanne and Thea cannot be together. But within the impossible . . . is devotion.
WINNER FOR THE ABIA AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR 2022
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARDS FICTION 2022
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ABIA LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2022
LONGLISTED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN BOOK DESIGN AWARDS 2022 BEST DESIGNED LITERARY FICTION COVER
Praise for Devotion
'Devotion is utterly original. A glorious, heartbreaking love story of infinite beauty.' - Heather Rose
'Hannah Kent's latest novel is stunning - full of magic and adventure. I fell in love with language again reading it. So beautiful and so raw. Devotion is impossibly good.' - Evie Wyld
'Such a glorious love story. And the poetry of the landscape had, for me, a Whitmanesque sensibility. A mighty impassioned cry to love and the land.' - Sarah Winman
'Devotion is rare and exquisite, both beautiful and muscular in its portrayal of love found and denied. It's a story of love as a radical act, and a celebration of place and persistence. As we've come to expect from Kent, this is masterful storytelling with pull-no-punches stakes. It's taken root in my heart.' - Kiran Millwood Hargrave
'I absolutely love this book. Hannah Kent writes some of the most transcendently beautiful prose I've ever read.' - Magda Szubanski
'Devotion is a rich, often surprising novel, written with the sort of prosody poets like me are always seeking.' - The Conversation
- Publisher : Picador Australia (26 October 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1760986097
- ISBN-13 : 978-1760986094
- Dimensions : 16.2 x 4 x 24.1 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 109,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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With Devotion, you have sung directly to my soul. Written a masterpiece that I and countless others, I'm sure, will study in awe.
Every word, every sentence, every chapter a lesson in brilliance. A writer's guidebook. A seminal work displaying the art and craft of creative writing.
With your fearlessness and courage you have written many mysteries others - myself included - have only dared to touch upon.
'Thank you' is not enough, but it comes from my heart and from my soul.
If you like this review and want to read more, follow me on Instagram - @books_and_bug
Became very self indulgent of the Author, used her amazing poetic capability to describe sentimentality to the point of tedium… protagonist if you can suspend reality to accept her(I did) is irritatingly self involved and selfish.. moved along fast, interesting background .. I live in South Australia., but pretty much well written soapy rubbish
It starts in the early 1800's in Prussia. Hanne is. a teenager who lives in a small lutheran community where she is friendless and feels unwanted by her community and family. She is different in that she can hear trees and other music in nature. When Thea, the daughter of a rumoured 'witch' moves with her family to the village, Hanne finally feels like she has found her soul mate.
Soon after this, the community is funded to make the move to Australia to establish a new lutheran community. The six months on the ship out to Australia is gruelling and an event occurs that provides a real twist in the story. After this event I cannot say I enjoyed the book nearly as much, as it took on a more supernatural tone.
I think I will be in the minority with my opinion on this as the book is very beautifully written and certain characters struck a chord with me.
Top reviews from other countries
The book is narrated by Johanne Nussbaum, a shy and awkward girl, an outsider who prefers the company of the natural world to that of her peers. Her life is changed when a new family, the Eigenwalds and their daughter Thea come to the village.
Devotion is, at its most superficial, an historical novel, based on the real life emigration of German Lutherans to Australia. It also pays some attention to themes of colonialism and environmentalism. It is fundamentally, however, a devastatingly powerful love story. Beyond that, it was only when I was very near the end that I realised its true ancestry. It is a story in which a young girl finds herself estranged from society and feels deprived of her parents’ love. It has strong elements of witchcraft and the supernatural. It is a book of high passions and emotion, to the extent that while thoroughly enjoying it, I could only read it in short bursts, it is so intense. It is a novel in which love transcends death. It is a book in which the supernatural elements include an entity which sucks the life out of other creatures. In short Hannah Kent has written a genuine, 100% authentic gothic novel.
All of that aside, it is beautifully written, strongly evoking the touch and feel of the German Forests, the horrors of the cramped six month voyage to Australia, and the struggle of life in the new world. Kent is also skilful in portraying the petty jealousies of a small community, and enormously touching in her depiction of the central, and eventually triumphant love story.