Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Arlandur Indridason's "Silence of the Grave"

The characteristics of a good fiction is that it has the power to make readers enter the narrative and vanish there. The reader forgets his/her self and starts caring about the characters as if they were the dear ones. A sense of empathy develops for them.

As I read Icelandic author Arlandur Indridason's crime novel "Silence of the Grave", I went through the emotions mentioned above. Inspector Erlendur is in charge of investigating a cold case when a bone structure surfaces from an unmarked grave in Reykjavik. The progress in exhumation and forensic analysis runs together with the story of a family where domestic violence has made the life of a wife and children hellish. Simultaneously, Erlendur's family troubles are described.

The scenes of domestic violence made my blood boil (in empathy for the victim). They are presented in a graphic manner but never descend to vulgarity. The scarred pysche of a battered wife and children has been realistically presented by the writer. Twisted mentality of people is generally the result of childhood trauma, as Freud maintained. The suspense of the grave is maintained till the end with plenty of red herrings thrown between.  I was engrossed till the end.

This book rises above genre conventions as it avoids cheap thrills and provides insights into human nature. A heartwarming work from a very cold place, "Silence of the Grave" will please the connoisseurs of crime fiction.

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