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The Palace Thief: Stories
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The Palace Thief: Stories

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,651 ratings  ·  218 reviews
The Palace Thief offers four unforgettable tales by one of America's finest writers. Ethan Canin's stories capture people at crucial moments, as they struggle to understand the strange, surprising turns their lives have taken. Canin infuses the ordinary with drama and mystery; each story illumines a secret inner life and speaks with the force of confession. Contemporary in ...more
Paperback, 205 pages
Published November 15th 1994 by Picador (first published January 1st 1994)
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Denise Westlake Goodreads isn't zinging along, is it? But last resort for this is from MY BOOKS and change in drop down menu .. I always appreciateyour posts, Anne.…moreGoodreads isn't zinging along, is it? But last resort for this is from MY BOOKS and change in drop down menu .. I always appreciateyour posts, Anne. Don't give up! (less)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,651 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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The ancient Greek word for character is Ethos - the basis for "ethics", the study of morality and principles relating to right and wrong conduct. Heraclitus, the famous pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, held a belief that a person's ethos is their daimon, which actually translates as "fate". Ethos Anthropos Daimon - Man's character is his fate.

Heraclitus thought that man's character was his essence, and ultimately determined how an individual would experience life - he saw character as a system of
Mr. William Hundert, the protagonist and narrator of Ethan Canin’s novella “The Palace Thief,” is a classics teacher almost as obsessed with issues of character and the character development of his students as he is with the history of ancient Greece and Rome. As a scholar of classical antiquity, Hundert must certainly be familiar with the etymological derivation of the word “character” from its Greek origin as “engraved mark.” (”character.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian ...more
Gabriela Barriga
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jorge Anaya
This book was ok at it's best. The plot was very underwhelming in the sense that nothing exciting really happened. I can agree that the books message of people sometimes will never change is very agreeable, but besides that there was nothing that can or will change my opinion on it.
Angelina Quidachay
This book was quite predictable because what do you expect from a troublemaker? Not only that, but when has a person actually changed? I liked, but didn't like the book at the same time since you could assume what would happen next. A man who is supposed to follow moral doesn't which does not make sense because it's what he believes in, but follows them at the very end when it's too late. With said, I do like how Hundert treated his students as his own, saying "my boys" but he didn't show emotio ...more
Ahtziri Hernandez
I somewhat liked this book but I didn't love it. I wouldn't reread this back because it is not the type of books that I enjoy to read.
Alicia Romero
The Palace Thief was a good book and it had very difficult words on it. I actually read the book in school as an actual class. In the beginning when we started reading part of the book I actually didn't like it however, towards the end it was kind of good. It was good because it shows how a teacher that can't speak up for himself spoke up when he saw that an old student of him was cheating. It has really great lessons like don't cheat and when someone has morals their morals are never going to g ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
The Palace Thief is a collection of four stories, each almost exactly 50 pages in length, and each centering on a male protagonist looking somewhat wide-eyed at the world, largely unawares that those around them are laughing gently behind their backs. In one story, an aging accountant wonders how, of all possibilities open to him, he'd ended up with the life he'd lived; in another, a young boy puzzles over a cryptic older brother; in the next, a divorced man's son tries to help him find happines ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Ethan Canin's four stories in "The Palace Thief" to be very enjoyable reading. Each of them reflects the very deepest of human emotions and are very revealing of how character flaws develop in even the most ethical persons. I very much enjoyed the beautiful prose in Ethan Canin's writing. I think my only disappointment with each of these stories was I really expected them to take a completely different turn to their end,and instead found them to be not spectacular, but definitely rewardi ...more
Trevor Pearson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Accountant is the first entry in Ethan Canin's collection of four novellas that from a thematic standpoint focus on transformational time periods in American history and culture and adapting your own family dynamics with all of these external factors at play. Three of the four stories begin with a confession, and as a reader, of course you’re left wondering and interested in what had taken place, but judging by the deliberate and subtle tone you can’t help but think what the author had in store ...more
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like this book one bit because everytime we read this book I would want to go take a nap.
This book in other words was really boring because the events were not entertaining and the story is told from hunderts point of view only.
What is better books or movies? Have you ever taught and had the time to compare a book to a movie? Well today we are comparing and contrasting “The Palace Thief” which is the book to The Emperor's Club which is the movie. The creator of this story is named Etha
David Chavez
I thought that Hundert was very pathetic and always felt sorry for himself. When things were getting bad or worrying he just felt bad for himself and didn't do anything. He set himself up with some morals to live by which he never followed because he was too weak to stand up for them. The book only focused on Hundert and Sedgewick which made it dull since Hundert was all about his work and he had nothing going on for him while Sedgewick was a charismatic jerk who showed how people dont change.
Carolin Colin
At first this book didnt really catch my interest because it had bigger words that I didnt understand, which made it hard for me to understand what was going on. Honestly I did not like because its written like people used to talk before and that really doesnt amuse me. ...more
Sofia Gonzalez
Dec 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tapia Mario
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. IT was about a kid that his name is Sedgewick. He's a complete jack ass starting school. He has a rich dad who is the senator. When they get older he hosts a rematch about Julius caesar because he lost the first one. In conclusion sedgewick remakes the contest but not to win but to get the votes so he can be the next senator
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning this book had challenging words that made it hard for me to understand the context.
I like this book because it makes me think critically and has expanded my vocabulary. This book is about a teacher who believes it is his responsibility as a educator to teach his students morals. There is events in the book that make it intense to find out what will happen next. I recommend this book to people who enjoy debating!
Tamarra Courtney
I think that it was fun reading the book. It was also exciting to see what was going to happen next. It was very long but, made me curious of what was going on in the book. And also made me curious about why sedgewick kept cheating, and mad me curious about will they catch him cheating and give him a punishment or what.
Stefany Colin
This book was pretty interesting it was about morals, and how people don't change. I like how the teacher Mr.Hundert tries to help Sedgewick but i don't like how he doesn't stand up and say something until the end of the book. I like how they all meet up in the end and get to talk to eachother and see what they've grown into.
America Ortega
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Palace Thief is an excellent book, just a tad bit challenging for me. I wasn't feeling the book at first, but as read further I realized how much I liked it. The short story is has it's humor and each character has a distinctive personality. Sedgewick's personality is my favorite.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The palace thief was a very nice and interesting book. It gave a message that moral lessons are just as important as any other lessons and should be taught by all kinds of teacher because it gives them a different perspective on teaching. But also the palace thief sends a message that a person never changes no matter how old they are or how rich they are.
One of the most interesting books that I've read because it teaches morality which is a big thing I think we lack today.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Palace Thief was interesting through out the book then it have gotten boring in the middle. I liked the ending because I thought Sedgewick has changed
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it was a really good book my favorite part of the book was when sedgewick invited mr. hundert to the 2 competition because he cheated again and it was funny to me that he still don't learn his lesson. Sedgewick really just organized the whole thing basically to tell the people that he's trying to for senate. But after all l i really liked the book it was really good.
David Soto
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book. At some points I ended up losing interest in the book, but as it kept going I enjoyed the character development. How every character has gone through their own hardships, and how that shaped them. For example, Sedgewick grew up with a tyrant father, which made him the same when he was a grown up. Also Hunderts "kids", depending on how they were when they were children, shaped how they would be when they turned older.
Edgar Penaloza
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William Granados
My favorite part of The Palace Thief is when Sedgewick invites everybody that was in his class to the Julius Cesar contest. It shows that he still hasn’t changed and that he is still arrogant. The moral of the story is that some people don’t change no matter what.
Angela Arceo
It was a good book. At first I wasn't really sure if I liked it but it turned out to be pretty good.
Jose Robledo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Palace thief was a decent book with stories that teach morals. One which was people do not change showed how an old man came to terms with his past but he did not change much.
Luis Yero
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an interesting book that I liked to read.
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Highly regarded as both a novelist and a short story writer, Ethan Canin has ranged in his career from the "breathtaking" short stories of Emperor of the Air to the "stunning" novellas of The Palace Thief, from the "wise and beautiful" short novel Carry Me Across the Water to the "epic" America America. His short stories, which have been the basis for four Hollywood movies, have appeared in a wide ...more