Archives for Norse saga

Book review: Burial Rites

So much has been written about this book by Hannah Kent, I feel pretty sure that by now you know it is the fictionalised story of an Icelandic woman found guilty of murder in the 1820s. You may possibly also know that this book, rich in Icelandic saga and with Iceland present on every page of the story, is written by a young Australian. If this book does not win a drawerful of awards, it will make me lose faith in literary awards. The confidence with which the story is told defies the knowledge that this is a debut novel, any allowances I had mentally made for a debut are not required. Not only does Kent write a historical novel set in a foreign country with a difficult language, from page one you are in Iceland. Put aside the names of people, the names of the farms [the map at the front of my edition was much thumbed in the beginning, then forgotten], Iceland surrounds you as you read the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir. You sit with her in the badstofa, the smell of the dung walls in your lungs, the dirt under your fingernails. “The herb plot of Kornsá
Read More

Categories: Book Love.