Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

If you are Australian you’ve been through all the hype with this one….if you are overseas, it is yet to come. A runaway bestseller if ever there was one.

To whatever else is out there on this one, may I add:

(1) the hype is completely justified. The ending is never a surprise and yet you will weep as it comes upon you.

(2) having laboured through a Laxness, a badly written, tedious Nobel-prize winning work, it was pleasing to see that something so moving and gripping could be written about much the same subject matter. I wonder if Kent is going to be another Tartt, somebody who labours long over each new work, producing a masterpiece each time? For now, one wonders how somebody in their early twenties could create such a novel as this, let alone maintain the expectations that must now weigh upon her.

(3) there is something very sad observing that the death penalty is – typically? ALWAYS? – repealed by society after being applied to one who may be innocent. It is an easy argument against capital punishment – what if an innocent person is killed? – but is not the harder one the truer, should we kill at all?

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