Picador, $32.99 pb, 418 pp
‘See, my hands, they reach for you. My heart is a hand reaching.’ So begins Hannah Kent’s wide-ranging and poetic new novel, signalling its key themes of love, longing, and the pain that arises from division. While hands reach out, desperately seeking each other, Devotion explores the possibilities and the limits of such clasping. This is a powerful narrative that grapples with what connects passionate bodies and hearts and what might keep them apart, be it physical distance, religious constraint, or the limits of the imagination. Through the motif of devotion – religious, emotional, sexual – Kent’s skilful novel considers the fundamental human experiences of attachment and desire as experienced by characters who carry the weighty impress of the past, with its complex tracery of love, geography, and suffering, into the unfolding possibilities of new worlds.