Fraying Nerves. "The Hamilton Case" by Michelle de Kretser. [review]
"The Hamilton Case", Michelle de Kretser’s magnificent second novel, takes as its philosophical focus the opposition of forms of knowledge, but presumes from the outset that fiction knows more than the law does. Its modes of inquiry - following casuistically the odd detail, the quirky story, the ineluctably precious registers of affect and memory - reveal what in stricter forms is inadmissible. Significantly, the 'case' itself is given little narrative space; what preoccupies the author are the lives loosely constellated around its historical moment, and the ramification of themes of witness, judgment and loss. "The Hamilton Case" is an eloquent, sophisticated and immensely satisfying work of art. But its chief claim lies in its intelligent consideration of the ethics of judgment, and a process in which the serendipitous imaginary recovers the faces that defeat the faceless barbarities of history.