Archive for Silence of the Grave

Grafarþögn

Posted in Books with tags , , , on April 23, 2011 by xi'an

During my visit to Madrid I managed to finish another book by Arnaldur Indriðason, Graforþögn (La Femme en Vert), which has been translated into English under the rather dull title of Silence of the Grave. While it is an impressive book, by its description of domestic violence and of its impact on the children and grand-children of abusive fathers, it is not exactly a detective story because there is not much in terms of police work… The book is terrifying in the spiral of physical and psychological violence suffered by the family and it is no wonder the book got several awards (Glass Key award 2003, CWA Gold Dagger 2005, Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle 2007). However, having the two stories exposed in parallel, the one of the suffering family in the 1940’s and the uncovering of the grave in the early 2000’s, reduces the plot in the current era to a spectator’s game, the reader being aware of much more than the policemen conducting the inquiry, and suspecting in particular that the body slowly unearthed by the archaeologists can only be one of two members of this doomed family… I must say I preferred Arctic Chill, especially because of the vision it gave of the contemporary Icelandic society, but this novel Graforþögn also contains insights about an older, more rural and just as cruel, Iceland that WWII was going to change so radically.