Inspired by a true story, Hannah Kents Burial Rites was shortlisted for The Baileys Womens Prize for Fiction, The Guardian First Book Award and The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards In northern Iceland Agnes Magnsdttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her loverAgnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district officer Jn Jnsson, his wife and their two daughters Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes Only Tti, the young assistant priest appointed Agness 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, Agness story begins to emerge and with it the familys terrible realization that all is not as they had assumedBased 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 were told In beautiful, cut glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Icelands 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

7 thoughts on “Burial Rites

  1. GrammarPhone GrammarPhone says:

    Absolutely loved this book Yes it s dark, yes it s not uplifting or happy or heart warming It s about a woman sentenced to death for murder in Iceland.What it is is beautiful, captivating, immersive and intriguing Kent s writing style pulls you in and holds you there to the point where her description of the wild Icelandic landscape will leave you feeling chilly Protagonist Agnes is a hard nut to crack, but as her story absorbs you and it s easy to forget why she is in the position she s inLook forward to reading from this author A wonderful debut.

  2. Melancholie Melancholie says:

    I d heard about this novel on a book recommendations Facebook page and then had a colleague mention it to me as well as I was about to jet off on honeymoon to Iceland, where the story is set.It s based on a real life crime in the early 1800s where three people in Iceland were convicted of murder and sent to live with different families whilst awaiting their fate death by beheading This crime has apparently been written about before but all the previous tellings painted Agnes, the main character in Burial Rites, as pure evil Kent wanted to show a balanced possibility and add some humanity to the character in her fictionalised account of Agnes s months with the family tasked with keeping her a prisoner until her execution.This was really well written and the characters were very believable Kent has given them depth and the slow revelation of aspects of the story through the use of interspersed flashback worked really well for me I d definitely recommend it to others, even if you re not usually into historical period novels which I m not

  3. jaymbird jaymbird says:

    In 1828 in rural Iceland, three people are convicted of murdering two others As Agnes Magnusdottir waits to be executed, she is given into the reluctant care of a faing family until sentence can be carried out A young assistant minister is assigned as her spiritual mentor.Based on real events and much research, the novel paints a vivid picture of a farming community in Iceland in 1828 Work is hard, unremitting, and at the mercy of the northern climate Social strictures can be as unforgiving as the long, dark winters, with a casual cruelty that is too often disguised as religious respectability Farms may be isolated but privacy is hard to come by with families and visitors sharing the communal living and sleeping space of the badstofa.In this land of sagas, the stories people tell about others are not always true to actual life The stories surrounding Agnes slowly unfold in third person supplemented with extracts from documents of the time Agnes intersperses her thoughts in first person and her reflections add a depth of feeling and understanding to the narrative.The story is definitely not feel good , but I would not describe it as miserable fate may be cruel but humans can, and do, learn kindness And the evocative writing is a pleasure to read, conjuring with almost physical intensity the sounds, smells, colours and textures of life at close quarters in this beautiful, harsh landscape I found myself pulling an extra duvet over me, I was so convinced by the depiction of the cold.If you don t already know the end and want to keep the suspense, then don t look up the actual case until after you ve read it Hannah Kent weaves an engrossing story of how it might have been.

  4. Martin Farenheit Martin Farenheit says:

    An exceptionally atmospheric novel which captures the harsh lifestyle, history, unique landscape and social injustice of Iceland at the time Mercifully, this is not about the trial of the last woman to be executed in Iceland , but cleverly weaves factual documents into the well paced and well drawn story While fictionalised, there is great credibility in the way the author tells the tale and she manages that rare thing to make the reader fully engaged and caring about the heroine She also has a light, but razor sharp, touch with her descriptions which took my breath away at times the children were as thin as tide marks and knows how to turn on the emotional scenes Going to be made into a film and a tourist tour is being planned around this book.

  5. Nicola in South Yorkshire Nicola in South Yorkshire says:

    Based on a true story, Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, an Icelandic woman in the 1830s who is found guilty of murder along with two others and sentenced to death She is placed with a local family on their farm until the date of her execution and naturally they are horrified to be sharing their small home with a murderess The first half of the book focuses on Agnes s removal from her prison and placement with the family and then the second half focuses on what led Agnes to be accused of the murder of her lover employer and another man.This book was recommended to me as being similar to The Miniaturist, which I had loved In many ways, this is correct, as it s got the same sort of slow and detailed style to it, and Burial Rites is a book which needs to be read at a slower pace than some books It s very atmospheric and drew me into the area and gave me an appreciation of the desolation of the landscape in Iceland at that time Agnes s story is interesting to read and I enjoyed both the parts where she told the story and the bits in the third person from the viewpoint of the young priest she asks to help her through the time before her execution, and the various family members with whom she finds herself living.This is a very good book and I enjoyed it very much, but I can t say it was the easiest read It has a poetic style about it but I didn t find it over the top in this respect I think it will be interesting to see what this author does next.

  6. Silviah Colombara Silviah Colombara says:

    Quando ho letto romanzo storico ero scettica Ma Hannah Kent scrive divinamente E partita da un fatto storico e ci ha costruito sopra un mondo intero, fatto di sentimenti, di immagini spettacolari arrivi a fine libro e ti sembra di essere in quella campagna desolata e ostile, in mezzo a quelle persone in cui si instilla quasi senza che se ne accorgano il dubbio che questa ragazza sia molto lontana dall immagine che avevano di lei all inizio Mi rimasta nel cuore l immagine di questa donna con la falce in mano che danza il suo movimento ritmico nel campo Ho regalato gi due volte questo libro, perch il mondo merita di leggere pi spesso storie cos belle e crudeli e raccontate in modo cos sublime.

  7. Keksisbaby Keksisbaby says:

    Die Geschichte um die Magd Agnes Magnusdottir hat mich emotional mitgenommen Als erstes bildet man sich ein Urteil ber Agnes Eine Frau die aus Habgier get tet hat Doch je besser man sie kennenlernt, desto mehr w chst sie einem ans Herz Ich bekam Mitleid f r ihr Schicksal, denn unter der rauen Schale, ist sie nur unsicher und m chte Anerkennung Ich hatte so gehofft, dass sie doch noch begnadigt wird, aber da die Geschichte auf einer wahren Begebenheit beruht, war damit nicht zu rechnen Genau wie dem jungen Priester ging mir diese stille introvertierte Frau unter die Haut und die Story lie mich auch lange nach dem Lesen nicht los Nebenbei erfuhr ich etwas ber das beschwerliche Leben auf Island Die kurzen Sommer, in denen f r die langen dunklen Winter vorgesorgt werden muss Und die Verzweigungen der H fe und der Menschen, die nicht berleben k nnen, wenn sie sich nicht aufeinander verlassen k nnen Aber auch an so einem Ort, herrscht ein Machtgef ge und es gibt Leute mit politischem Kalk l.Hannah Kent hat sich mit ihrem Deb t in mein Herz geschrieben Sie zeigt mir die menschliche Seite einer als M rderin verurteilten Frau und hat mir die Geschichte eines isl ndischen Mythos n her gebraucht, von dem ich sonst nie erfahren h tte.