Burial Rites

Hannah Kent

4.02 based on 1794 ratings & 397 reviews on Goodreads.com

2013 Nominee

Guardian First Book Award

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27 February 2014
9781447233176
384 pages
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.

'A story of swirling sagas, poetry, bitterness, claustrophobia . . . through the long countdown towards Agnes's fate, it is Kent's heart-racing imagery that lingers . . . even the bleakness of Agnes's end, its gut-churning fear, holds an exhilaration that borders on the sublime.' Sunday Telegraph