Kent’s second book follows in the footsteps of her first book,
where the story plays out against a background that is harsh, grey,
cold and unforgiving. While Burial
is set in Iceland, The
the Irish winter of
Kent’s ability to capture a physical sensation of cold and deprivation in her
writing is to be admired.
is a book about the complexity of myth and superstition and the way
in which it merges with traditional
religious belief. The story, situated in an Irish rural village of
the early nineteenth century, centres on three women: Nόra,
newly widowed and the guardian of her deceased
daughter’s four-year-old child, Micheál;
Nance, the village wise
woman; and Mary, a fourteen-year-old girl hired
to help her with Micheál.
is disabled, though, if we are to believe
began life as well and healthy as any other child. Although she fears that her daughter and son-in-law may have failed to care for him and
feed him properly, Nance strongly believes that he is a changeling: the real Micheál has been
taken by the fairies or the good people.
story unwinds against a background where a depressing Irish winter competes only with ignorance, herbal
unbelievable array of concoctions
to ward off harm and/or bring luck. Traditional
religious practices may be part of every-day life for these people, but as the new priest soon realizes (much to his chagrin) his flock is
not only Christian but also pagan.
should appeal to most readers but especially to those who have
experienced Irish superstitions and folk lore at first hand. It is a
book that once commenced cannot be put down.