Susan Hampton’s The Kindly Ones

Sleeve Notes: The Kindly Ones

Here is a journey everyone who is interested in the ethics of modern life should take. Susan Hampton rips into every part of the modern world while ostensibly being part of the ancient. Mobile phones? The war in Iraq? Ecstasy? She looks at how and why we construct music, scours us into considering how every culture fails children, lays out an argument about the efficacy of vengeance, makes contrapuntal comedy about all the details of being both abroad and at home, and in doing so convinces us that she has seen, in vivid detail, that myths are engines turning within us all. Here are slow jokes, that burn us into laughter and blunt facts that demand a searing compassion. The more I listened, the more I knew, everyone should hear this.

Carol Jenkins

Selection of reviews of The Kindly Ones

‘Hampton’s travelogue epic is – despite the presence of vipers, Harpies, a car crash, whippings, matricide, rape, and a beheading – oddly pleasant and totally accessible. The tone is conversational, even friendly, including the reader in on both the larger revenge picture, and the routine of determining its heinous, and often funny, particulars.’

Nicole Mauro, Jacket 29, April 06

‘…a weird satirical travelogue written by one of the Furies…Tired of their work in the underworld, the Furies take a holiday on earth and involve themselves in everyday life, working at a Virgin call centre and watching the news until they are tired of vengeance. It is an extraordinary poem: bold, bitter, intelligent and fantastical.’

Lisa Gorton, Saturday Age, Aug 06

‘Hampton’s constant juxtaposition of the deeply disturbing and the ordinary also results in irony that ranges from the charming to the razor-edged. Much of this is achieved by her excellent control of voice. Her finely tuned ear for the vernacular sits next to layers of clsassical erudition, and exposition on the nature of tragedy – ancient versus modern. .. In its fusion of mythical and modern worlds, its exploration of vengeance and forgiveness, its female sensibilities, its ironies, wit and pace, this is a verse narrative to be savoured.’

Lisa Temple, Australian Book Review, Apr 06

‘Hampton uses a sort of witticised rural colloquial… its quiet humour, and sliding lateral thought, is a constant pleasure… The grail of forgiveness is held out, and each reader must decide whether to drink of it, and indeed whether or not the narrator has partaken … The Kindly Ones is a grandly entertaining examination that offers us, in the end, hope despite the cold draft coming from the open door of the underworld..’

Tim Metcalf, five bells winter 07

Biography Susan Hampton

Susan Hampton is a writer, freelance editor and tutor who lives in Canberra and Sydney. She has been teaching professional writing and editing for twenty five years.

Susan has been Writer-in-Residence at ANU, UC, ADFA, Darwin, Charles Sturt University (Wagga Wagga), Wollongong and UNE Armidale.

Susan has written five books of poetry: Costumes, White Dog Sonnets, Surly Girls, A Latin Primer. Her latest book, The Kindly Ones, and was shortlisted for the NSW and Victorian Premiers’ Awards for poetry, the Age Book of the Year Award, and the ACT Book of the Year Award, and won the 2006 Judith Wright Award.

The photograph on the cover is reproduced with the kind permission of Philip Castle.

The audio CD was recorded and produced by Carol Jenkins for River Road Press Pty Ltd.