Released on 27 February 2014.

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Burial Rites

4.01 based on 43398 ratings & 6249 reviews on Goodreads.com

2014 Long-listed

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

2014 Long-listed

Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction

2013 Short-listed

Guardian First Book Award

Synopsis

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.

In the media

A taut, atmospheric tale, compellingly told
Irish Independent
It's hard to believe that Burial Rites . . . is a first novel. Based on the last case of capital punishment in Iceland, in 1830, it's meticulously researched, with the past so strongly evoked that one can almost smell it: a simple, moving story, told with confidence.
Guardian
Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, a remarkably assured debut, takes a tale of crime and punishment in 1820s Iceland and through it opens a window, lit with harsh brilliance, on to an alien world.
Independent