Inspired by a true story, Hannah Kent's Burial Rites was shortlisted for The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, The Guardian First Book Award and The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards.
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover.
Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.
Based on actual events, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving novel about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, in which every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
Burial Rites is perfect for fans of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This stunning debut from Adelaide-born Hannah Kent fictionalises the real-life story of the last person executed in Iceland. Its prose transports you to the stark, brutal life of the island nation’s rural communities in 1829—a place where human existence itself can be tenuous and fraught emotions underlie the relationships of the seemingly phlegmatic Icelanders. We highly recommend this unforgettable novel.
Kent's debut delves deep into Scandinavian history, not to mention matters of storytelling, guilt, and silence. Based on the true story of Agnes Magn sd ttir, the novel is set in rural Iceland in 1829. Agnes is awaiting execution for the murder of her former employer and his friend, not in a prison there are none in the area but at a local family's farm. J n J nsson, the father, grudgingly accepts this thankless task as part of his responsibility as a regional official, but his wife and daughters' reactions range from silent resentment to outright fear. After settling in to the household, Agnes requests the company of a young priest, to whom she confesses parts of her story, while narrating the full tale only to the reader, who, like the priest, "provide her with a final audience to her life's lonely narrative." The multilayered story paints sympathetic and complex portraits of Agnes, the J nssons, and the young priest, whose motives for helping the convict are complicated. Kent smoothly incorporates her impressive research for example, she opens many of the chapters with documents that come directly from archival sources while giving life to these historical figures and suspense to their tales.
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Moving, Emotional, a Must have!!!!
Fantastically written, was transported to Iceland with words!!!!