Saturday, January 03, 2015

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

I think I am the last person to read this book.  It is justifiably well-regarded and has won 9 literary awards and been shortlisted for as many again.

TOF and I listened to most of the audio-book borrowed from Libraries ACT on a recent journey and I finished it yesterday.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book - it is a "speculative biography" of the last woman executed in Iceland.  Firmly based on historical research, the book reproduces a number of translated documents of the period, which appealed to me as an archivist.

Another appealing factor - the historical detail of women's work, in particular their textile work.  Knitting, spinning and weaving are inherent elements of the text and I thrilled at each mention.  I could imagine a pattern book based on traditional Icelandic patterns for socks and mittens based on this book, just as we have seen other "inspired" pattern books.

The book is a satisfying, fresh, feminist reading of a moment of Icelandic history and you don't need to be a knitter to enjoy it.

If this wasn't enough to make me just a little bit in love with Hannah Kent, this quotation from a recent blog post sealed our relationship.

"If you can't afford new books, buy second-hand books. If you can't afford second-hand books, get a library card. Get a library card anyway." Hannah Kent's Rules for Writing, blogged 26 November 2014

SOURCE: Libraries ACT


Elizabeth Lhuede said...

I haven't read it yet, either, and I don't have a copy (despite all my hints for birthday and Christmas). Really looking forward to it!

2paw said...

No, you are not the last. I have heard some great radio shows about the book, and read excellent reviews. I must put a hold on at the Library NOW!!!