The Hamilton Case
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The Hamilton case is a murder in Sri Lanka in 1902 when it was still known as Ceylon. Born into a wealthy Celonese family and educated at Oxford, Sam Obeyskere is a home grown product of the British Empire. He returns home to practice law and finds that he is too British to be native and too native to be British. When he is asked to comment on a sensational local murder his arrogant belief in his own importance and his rash response that an Englishman is responsible for the killing will dog him...more
de Krester certainly has a knack for description. She repeatedly takes delight in rattling off lists of every day objects that are perceived treasures by th...more
I thought the author's use of language was powerful, and even beautiful. She handled the setting well: it certainly was exotic. I did not have much patience for any of the characters. They were not nice people. There didn't seem to be any intact marriages (lots of cheating), the families were dysfunctional, the individual characters selfish and often dishonest. As for the story line, I found it to be far to...more
I disliked the main character, who was vain, snobbish and cruel. The book explores how his upbringing, as a member of the Sri Lankan upper classes, during the time of the British Empire, shapes his personality and his li...more
De Kretser's delicacy, honesty and evocative style, which critics compare to Agatha Christie and Somerset Maugham's, garnered praise in all quarters. Within a wholly compelling plot, she offers psychological insights rather than icy, intellectual dissections of the characters. However, the tale shifts through four points of view, a device disliked by several critics. Still, Obeysekere's initially pompous, verbose, and mannered memoir struck some nerves. De Kretser handles the exotic material wit...more
The genre of post-colonial literary fiction has become one of the mainstays of the Booker Prize, with wins for several over the years. When starting to read The Hamilton Case, I thought that it was strange that this novel, set in Ceylon in the generation leading up to independence, had been overlooked by the judges - and I am not the only one, as Hilary Mantel (herself now of course a double winner of the prize) suggests that it should have made it to the sho...more
I read so many glowing reviews of this novel, but it was just "okay" for me. The protagonist wasn't very appealing, in my opinion. It made it difficult for me to care about his fate. There was a lot of good, quirky character work, but I found it hard to relate to anyone in the story. However, the writing def...more
The beautiful descriptions and lush atmosphere belie a corrupt society. There are two mysteries central to the plot: who killed t...more
The story held little interest for me, but fortunately de Kretser is about style and perspective. A minor character, a judge who writes novels, sums it up in his conclusory section of...more
Now that I've finished it, I can't give it any more stars. The ethnic and historical background were interesting, but the characters were not compell...more
Slow, dull and so heavy on repetitive descriptions of foliage it's like cutting through a jungle to read it.
The main character is weak, dull and is completely reactive to everything around it.
The book shifts from first person to third to a different first person for no discernible reason.
The book is so engaged with its desire to be lush it forgets to be clear, there are some moments that despit...more
She was educated in Melbourne and Paris, and published her first novel, 'The Rose Grower' in 1999. Her second novel, published in 2003, 'The Hamilton Case' was winner of the Tasmania Pacific Prize, the Encore Award (UK) and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Southeast Asia...more