Hello peeps, and welcome back to my blog, Tea and Paperbacks! This post is a special dedication to one of my new favourite authors, Hannah Kent. Ever since I picked up Burial Rites and loved it, I have been meaning to read her other works and review them for you.
I read her two books quite a long time ago. I finished the second book I read by her, The Good People, on June, while I read her first novel, Burial Rites on October last year. Here are five things I loved about Hannah Kent’s books.
#1 The atmosphere and setting of her books
Both Kent’s books are set in Ireland in 1820s, but revolves around different events. In both novels, she has a similar theme running through the atmosphere and vibe of the books. They were all set in a cold country, and you can really feel the climate taking a huge role on the stories and the characters. The cold was what really struck to me as very Hannah Kent, echoing across both the books similarly.
On another note, the location of these stories are also very important. I can still clearly imagine the hills and small houses in Burial Rites, while the edge of the forest in The Good People, as well as the creeks and houses scattered in the village where the main character lives is still fresh on my mind.
#2 Her few yet very well carved out characters
In her first book I wrote a review and stated that I didn’t really remember or had a strong impression of her side characters, but her main characters were so strong and well written that those who weren’t in the spotlight became just a blur. Overall though, her books do not have a huge cast of characters. Only a bunch of main characters, each of them unique in their own ways and so fleshed out you can feel how human they are.
#3 Those book covers!
Just look at them.
#4 That beautiful and quotable writing
This is almost the main reason why I picked up The Good People after reading Burial Rites. Hannah Kent has a way with writing her stories, weaving in the atmosphere and weather (like I mentioned), the characters, their dialogues, while also paying attention to the flow of the story. I agree, it is quite slow at lots of times, but I realized that those are the types of books that I love, the books that have a slow paced story with amazing writing that makes you want to underline a lot of the passages.
#5 How the themes she discusses makes you contemplate about life
In Burial Rites, Hannah Kent tells a story about the last days of a woman who was persecuted to die because of a crime she claimed she didn’t commit. That’s a very heavy topic and reading the story from partly the woman’s point of view is very eye-opening. Additionally, in The Good People we find the main character, a grandmother who thinks her grandson is a changeling and tries to save him but in the end kills him instead. There are so many layers into the main characters, and the events that happened in the books, and it really makes you think about them a lot.
The sky comes closer and for a moment I am going to collide with the clouds, but then I see, they have put me on a horse, and like a corpse they are going to take me to the grave, like a dead woman they will bury me in the earth, pocket me like a stone. There are ravens in the sky, but what bird flies underwater? What bird can sing without stones beneath him to listen?
Natan would know. I must remember to ask him.
So, have I convinced you all enough to pick up a book by Hannah Kent? I hope so! To find out my full thoughts on these two books, check out my review of them in Goodreads. Until next time!