Header Ads

Breaking News

Matriarchy under siege in Kiran Millwood Hargrave's 'Mercies'

In 1617, the menfolk of an isolated Norwegian hamlet have just set off on a whaling expedition when a tempest swamps their boat, drowning every one of them. The mothers and wives that remain have little time to grieve, as surviving the brutal arctic conditions means scrambling into the roles the dead men have left behind: sailors, farmers, leaders, lovers. For three years, they live as “a town of women.” As word gets out about Vardø’s unusual all-female society, a prominent witch hunter from Scotland arrives to investigate the suspicious evil that doomed the men of the town.

In her elegant and chilling new novel, British writer Kiran Millwood Hargrave spins a hypnotic tale out of a historical witchcraft trial. “The Mercies” (Little, Brown and Company, 328 pp., ★★★½ out of four stars) begins with the frenzy of the storm and its deadly aftermath and finishes on a similar crescendo as the trial reaches its culmination. For the novel’s long middle, Hargrave slows the narrative down to explore the fascinating daily lives of a matriarchy isolated in the frozen north.

Source link

No comments