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Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey

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The book begins in 2001 when an unnamed woman starts to write to an estranged friend. She reminisces back to 1976 and takes some months writing it with nowhere to send it so it becomes cathartic and helps her to move on. It’s fascinating with beautiful, descriptive poetic writing covering religion, death, relationships, jealousy, betrayal, guilt and friendship – lots for reading groups to get their teeth into. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Longlisted for the Bailey's Womens Prize for Fiction 2015.

If you like Samantha Harvey you might also like to read books by Evie Wyld, Jenn Ashworth and Penelope Lively.


Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey

This book is shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Longlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Longlisted for the 2015 Jerwood Prize. In the middle of a winter's night, a woman wraps herself in a blanket, picks up a pen and starts writing to an estranged friend. In answer to a question you asked a long time ago, she writes, and so begins a letter that calls up a shared past both women have preferred to forget. Without knowing if her friend, Butterfly, is even alive or dead, she writes night after night - a letter of friendship that turns into something more revealing and recriminating. By turns a belated outlet of rage, an act of self-defence, and an offering of forgiveness, the letter revisits a betrayal that happened a decade and a half before, and dissects what is left of a friendship caught between the forces of hatred and love. The thoughtfulness, intensity and sheer beauty of her writing in her first two novels, The Wilderness and All Is Song, brought Samantha Harvey both huge acclaim and many prize shortlistings. Those readers who loved those novels will fall on Dear Thief with relief and delight.

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'A glorious, sensuous, grown-up novel, intelligent and passionate. -- Tessa Hadley Harvey has struck gold... Perhaps because it is so intimate, so honest, so raw, Dear Thief provokes you to think about life, and Life, and your own life.' -- Claire Kilroy, Guardian

'Beautiful... Exhilarating... Remarkable' -- James Wood, New Yorker

'Compassionate, matter-of-fact and mysterious about death and its ultimate transforming... Harvey offers an incandescent vision of hope and acceptance.' -- Catherine Taylor, Sunday Telegraph

'A quiet, unusual book, full of sad truths. I loved this epistolary novel of friendship, betrayal and forgiveness.' -- Paula Hawkins, author of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, Guardian

'Harvey's writing is stunning: an effortless spool that winds back the layers... Brilliant.' -- Kate Saunders, The Times

'Singular and haunting.' -- Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

About the Author

Samantha Harvey was born in England in 1975. She has lived in Ireland, New Zealand and Japan writing, travelling and teaching, and in recent years has co-founded an environmental charity alongside her novel writing. She completed with distinction the Bath Spa Creative Writing MA course in 2005, where she was shortlisted for the PFD prize. The Wilderness is her first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd September 2015


Samantha Harvey

More books by Samantha Harvey
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Author's Website


Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


272 pages


Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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