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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-04 23:14
Burial Rites
Burial Rites - Hannah Kent

***spoilers ahead****

 

BURIAL RITES is lovely and poignant. The writing is beautiful. Unfortunately, since you know the ending before it happens, it fizzles a bit. Interestingly, I did not feel the same way about Madeline Miller's SONG OF ACHILLES--another novel where the ending is fixed and inevitable. I think this is perhaps because the plot and character changes were somewhat predictable in BURIAL RITES: Agnes is portrayed as a bright, hardworking, unconventionally pretty, sympathetic heroine trapped in her circumstances, and the people who live with her (and care for her) at the end of her life are wary and judgmental but are eventually won over by her relative humanity. These side characters (the farm family at Kornsá, and the assistant reverand), whose points of view are in third-person, are never quite as rich and fleshed-out as Agnes, who speaks in first-person.

 

There are hints at ambiguity that I would have liked to have seen pursued more: Agnes's first-person-internal version of her story is different from what she recounts aloud to Margret. There are hints that she is an unreliable narrator. (Although it's obvious that she also has given up on telling the nuanced truth, which is that she both loved Natan and suffered terrible emotional abuse at his hands.)

 

As I was reading, I even thought there would be an implication of sexual harassment on District Commissioner Blöndal's part--that we'd find that his vindictiveness was based on Agnes rejecting promises of leniency in exchange for sex (and that Siggy had given in, and thus gotten an appeal). None of that came to pass, although it's made clear that being older (in her early 30s) and being intelligent made Agnes seem threatening and evil to the court, where young, pretty, and seemingly simple Siggy was considered more of an innocent victim of her accomplices.

 

Still, this novel is well researched and so evocative of time and place. An accomplished, highly readable debut.

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review 2017-11-22 20:14
Equal Rites
Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett

So far I´m not the biggest Terry Pratchett fan. I´m still looking for that book that pulls me completely into the quirky Pratchett universe. Equal Rites is my third Pratchett and unfortunately I´m still not enthusiatic about his books (but I´m not giving up).

 

In Equal Rites a wizard makes the grave mistake to pass his powers onto a baby girl. A female wizard? Unheard of in the whole of Discworld. The novel follows this female wizard, Eskarina Smith, how she gets tutored by Granny Weatherwax, an awesome witch, and how she tries to become the first female wizard in a male dominated world.

 

I loved Granny Weatherwax, she is such a fun and great character and a lot of the enjoyment I took out of this book is because of her. Unfortunately she isn´t the main character of this novel. The MC is Eskarina, a nine year old child and an annoying know-it-all. Eskarina is the proof that child characters and I don´t get along very well.

 

Equal Rites is an okay read, but I´m not in love with it. Granny Weatherwax on the other hand: 

 

"Listen, said Granny "If you give someone a bottle of red jollop for their wind it may work, right, but if you want it to work for sure then you let their mind make it work for them. Tell `em it´s moonbeams bottled in fairy wine or something. Mumble a bit over it. It´s the same with cursing."

 

"She was wearing servicable black, and concealed about her person were a number of hatpins and a breadknife. She had hidden their small store of money, grudgingly advanced by Smith, in the mysterious strata of her underwear. Her skirt pockets jingled with lucky charms, and a freshly-forged horseshoe, always a potent preventative in time of trouble, weighed down her handbag. She felt about as ready as she ever would be to face the world.

 

  

[Source]

 

"It´s Mistress Weatherwax," said Granny. "Three sugars, please."

Mrs. Whitlow pushed the bowl towards her. Much as she looked forward to Granny´s visits it came expensive in sugar. Sugar lumps never seemed to last long around Granny.

"Very bad for the figure," she said. "And the teeth, so Aye hear."

"I never had a figure  to speak of and my teeth take care of themselves," said Granny.

 

I love her.

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 All Saints Day: A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.

 

This wonderful cover of my edition has all the colours of the rainbow in it.

 

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quote 2017-11-09 18:46
One reason for the bustle was that over large parts of the continent other people preferred to make money without working at all, and since the Disc had yet to develop a music recording industry they were forced to fall back on older, more traditional forms of banditry.
Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett: Equal Rites, page 135

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review 2017-11-08 23:59
Burial Rites - Hannah Kent

Wow. What an incredibly haunting and tragic read. It was just so chilling.

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text 2017-11-05 06:11
Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 338 pages.
Burial Rites - Hannah Kent
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