Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: A Dark Love Letter

As winter comes, light fades sooner.  I set out this recent ‘read’ in order to photograph its cover, for the purpose of illustrating this post…there, on the feast table, it was too dark and I didn’t want a flash.  And so I propped it up against the back of the stove top, the over-head light, somehow very artificial.  I shivered.  The days, shorter, create a sense of landscape and environment that is in some ways, joyless.  And so, neighbours hang their orange lights and light up their jack-o-lanterns…soon to be replaced with festive Christmas lights; the act of seeking a light source in the early evenings and then, again, in morning.  Inside, after work, the heavy robes and wool socks await. It is nice to curl up in the welcoming arm of the sofa.  There is resistance to getting up after dinner and the need to go anywhere.  There is a pervasive sense of ‘waiting until spring’.

I find this such an appropriate segue into this most brief review of the book, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.  Hannah’s voice, rich and warm, invited the listeners into the briefest of moments for her protagonist, Agnes, during her reading at a recent Wordfest event.  First time novelist, I knew that I had to purchase her book after this delivery.  So gut-wrenchingly beautiful!

I guess we exchanged a few words at the signing…I don’t remember.  I held Hannah’s hand while I spoke to her and then she signed my book.

This book IS ‘a dark love letter’.  And that, in truth, is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’.  When I open a book, I like to be taken to a place…first.  If the setting grabs hold of my heart, then it is all I can do to put the book down.  After that, I like to get into the soul of the characters…have their motivations reveal themselves to me…embrace their imperfections.  And next, I like to be captivated by language.  I disappear into syntax and descriptive imagery.  This novel touched my soul. The novel, Burial Rites, while receiving both positive and negative reviews, is a perfect book for me.  It will remain,now, one of my treasured volumes.

Kath's Canon Burial Rites 002

Kath's Canon Burial Rites 003

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