The Hamilton Case The place is Ceylon the time the s Set amid tea plantations corruption and the backwash of empire this is a world teetering on the edge of chaos Sam Obeysekere is a Ceylonese lawyer a perfect

  • Title: The Hamilton Case
  • Author: Michelle de Kretser
  • ISBN: 9780099453796
  • Page: 390
  • Format: Paperback
  • The place is Ceylon, the time the 1930s Set amid tea plantations, corruption and the backwash of empire, this is a world teetering on the edge of chaos Sam Obeysekere is a Ceylonese lawyer, a perfect product of empire His family, which once had wealth and influence, starts to crack open as political change comes to the island, and Sam s glamorous father dies leaving gamThe place is Ceylon, the time the 1930s Set amid tea plantations, corruption and the backwash of empire, this is a world teetering on the edge of chaos Sam Obeysekere is a Ceylonese lawyer, a perfect product of empire His family, which once had wealth and influence, starts to crack open as political change comes to the island, and Sam s glamorous father dies leaving gambling debts At the heart of the novel is the Hamilton case, a murder scandal that shakes the upper echelons of island society Sam s involvement in it makes his name but sets his life on course of disappointment.

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    One thought on “The Hamilton Case”

    1. The Hamilton Case is set in Sri Lanka (then the British colony of Ceylon) around the early 1900s. The main character is Sam (after his initials). He is a young black man, a native Sinhalese, who goes to Oxford to become a lawyer. He is so sold on the ideals and benefits of British colonialism that all his life he uses the phrase “We Edwardians.” Most of the time he seems oblivious to his skin color and native status despite many warning signs, such as a European piano teacher who catches him [...]

    2. Possibly the best book I've ever read about the invisible harm that colonialism does to the psyche of a nation. The Hamilton Case is told through the eyes of a native Sri Lankan who grows up during the British occupation and does fairly well in its systems. But through his story and that of his friends and associates, we see the elaborate self deception that is needed to be able to live with oneself and one's compromises under colonialism, and the unfocused hate (at one's self, at the colonial o [...]

    3. A review in the New York Times Book Review got me to reserve The Lost Dog by her, but it didn't really appeal as much as this previous one--and I could hardly put it down. The details of daily life in Ceylon and Oxford, the story of colonialism in Ceylon and the murder mystery all are a really good read. I slowed down a bit in the last third, mostly because of being sidetracked by fact checking (what a "London silk" is, for example, and the flora and fauna and food). It is a very alive book and [...]

    4. 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 [...]

    5. For the life of me I cannot understand why this was published. I am sorry to the author, who I know put a lot off time and effort into this story, butShe did weave a beautiful picture of Ceylon in all its tropical glory, and with all the tropical glory comes the bugs, pests, reptiles, and rodents. But the characters, men who are filled with ego, macho self worth, and conceit! Women who are mousy, arm candy and married for breeding purposes only save one, Maud. She was the only colorful spot in t [...]

    6. This was nothing like what I expected. What it is: a sweeping book about colonialism, especially the British variety, culture and families. The story, which takes place in Ceylon, is exotic and the writing original and beautiful. It made me think about the Philippines, where I spent almost two years of my childhood, and the spread of American culture more generally. I'll come back to this one, and look for anything else by De Kretser.

    7. Another unreliable narrator -- this one pompous. Everybody in this novel is unhappy, abused, or slowly decaying. Bleh, bleh, bleh.

    8. The Hamilton Case is divided into three distinct sections. The story begins in Ceylon in the early 1900's, a British colony with a complicated social structure. The social structure is a cascading one, with the British at the top, then the Sinhalese and under them the Tamil, and so on. Part one of the narrative is in first person - Sam is telling the story of his childhood. It is one of loneliness, attempts to get the attention of his parents and struggles to fit in socially. He says, perhaps fo [...]

    9. As other reviewers can point out, the actual mystery of the Hamilton Case takes up little room in this drawn out novel. Whoever wrote the synopsis on the back of the book did an excellent job of what this book could have accomplished. In re-reading that paragraph, I am sort of tempted to give it a higher score because it sounds so intruiging Krester certainly has a knack for description. She repeatedly takes delight in rattling off lists of every day objects that are perceived treasures by the O [...]

    10. I don't know why, but I had a really hard time plowing through this book. I just didn't care about any of the characters, and found the narration/writing style a choppy, a good idea but poorly executed. I almost abandoned it but was encouraged by my mother to skim the last 100 pages (I had already made it that far, so why not, right?). I'm am glad I skimmed it, only to re-enforce that fact that I was glad to be done with it, I would have been very annoyed if I had taken the time to read it porpe [...]

    11. Where to begin? Changing the cover of this book to the above, did not make this book any more appealing.I read about 225 pages, and was still clueless-the character of Sam was downright condescending and arrogant-along with the handful of annoying and strange characters. Who are these people? what relevance do any of these chapters have to each other??The synopsis has NOTHING to do with the book.Skip it.etely confusing and unlikable. I gave up, and I never give up on a book unless its absolutely [...]

    12. This was a crisp and tantalising read with elements of detective novel, colonial mystery and magic realism. The protagonist was fully realised and revealed as more and more unlikeable as time went on, but the marvellous descriptions of the lush Ceylonese/Sri Lankan jungle remain with me. There were elements of the maddening irascibility of the romance of Gone With the Wind, where nothing goes into nothing.

    13. A decent book, though honestly it could have been done much better. For one thing, the title seems to attempt to be clever, but mostly it just feels off. I liked the first third of the book much better than the rest of it in terms of tone, since a silly old man's memoir appeals more to my sensibilities than the psychological drama it changed into.The same goes for the rest of the book -- I can see some people giving this a four (or even a five), but I really just think it's not my cup of tea.

    14. Great setting (Sri Lanka), odd (not always in a good way) characters, potentially interesting story that wasn't worth the number of pages it took to tell it.

    15. I kept slogging through this one despite despising the narratord didn't really find any big payoff at the end. Ah well.

    16. This book somehow managed to be boring. There was some good imagery, but I didn't really care about the main character at all.

    17. 2nd Wednesday Book Club 2/5 Very sad and unhappy characters, unlikable. Some parts were described beautifully but went on for too long and would have benefited from some editing. We preferred Michelle de Krester's The Rose Grower.

    18. A strange tale of a tragic family surviving in a world torn between two cultures. Strong, believable characters. Descriptions of people, places and situations very imaginative and atmospheric.I recommend The Hamilton Case for those looking for a book that is rather different and unusual.

    19. Ok, I admit it. I didn't finish it. It is wonderfully written. You can practically smell the jungle described. But it wore me out. Is everyone going to be dysfunctional, unhappy, and selfish. Everyone? No one is going to get better of learn anything! I'm out.

    20. Originally published on my blog here.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 [...]

    21. Meryl Review: The Hamilton Case Michelle de KretserThe Hamilton Case is a novel by Sri Lankan/Australian author Michelle de Kretser. The book won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (SE Asia & Pacific) and the Encore Award (UK). Time Magazine named the book as one of the five best novels of the year.Sam Obeysekere is an pretentious prig. Lawyer, pontificator - his self deluded, smug opinion of himself is reptilian. But his story, delivered with rapier sharp wit is fascinating and hypnotic.Sam is [...]

    22. I read this book whilst in Sri Lanka, which didn't hurt my appreciation of this beautifully written book.A must read, if you're going to Sri Lanka, or not.

    23. The book starts off at fast a pace. Giving a interesting glimpse of the decadence of the upper crust of colonial Sri Lankan society. The 'Case' itself takes pace halfway through the book, here everything rises to a fever pitch and you just know that this will pan out to be one of those epic reads where a seemingly tangential subplot seamlessly combines with a broader narrative of the zeitgeist to give you a wonderful punch in the stomach tempered with illumination, education and unparalleled ent [...]

    24. De Kretser wrote a biting critique on the effects of colonial rule on her native Sri Lanka in this novel. She begins with an excerpt from the memoirs of a Sinhalese lawyer, who identifies so strongly with the Brits that he adopts their love of law, their mannerisms, and their passions for crime fiction. The highlight of Obeysekere's career comes when he solves The Hamilton Case, accusing a white British citizen of killing another British tea planter. This was an audacious accusation that had lon [...]

    25. My problem with The Hamilton Case is the way it is marketed. I should know by now not to trust a book by its blurb. When I picked it up I was somewhat excited to be informed that I would be reading about an intriguing murder mystery set in late colonial Ceylon. I was hooked for the first hundred pages or so, reading the first-person narrative of the main protagonist Sam Obeysekere. He's an interesting and likable character and I thought it to be a build up of sorts. Then, shortly after his narra [...]

    26. If you are seeking an intriguing crime mystery, (implied by the title) warped with a few red herrings along a linear narrative of progress, "The Hamilton Case" does not deliver. Instead, the novel explores colonial worlds of old Ceylon - embedded with character detail, past and present lives, driven by 1st and 3rd person speakers and all in a pendulum motion defying time sequence. A glorious tropical world becomes matted with fevered images, irritatingly vague but always intriguing. Finally the [...]

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