Burial Rites

Burial Rites

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Hannah Kent

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 216mm x 225mm x 135mm | 479g
  • Publication date: 29 August 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1447233166
  • ISBN 13: 9781447233169
  • Sales rank: 1,356

Product description

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir 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 Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Toti, 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.

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Author information

Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnusdottir and was inspired to write Burial Rites. Hannah is the co-founder and deputy editor of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings, and is completing her PhD at Flinders University. In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Burial Rites is her first novel and has garnered praise from best-selling authors such as Karin Slaughter, Charlotte Rogan, Pulitzer prize-winner Geraldine Brooks and Orange prize-winner Madeline Miller.

Customer reviews

By mercedes mills 01 Sep 2013 4

If you're looking for a book that combines beautiful, poetic writing with a fast paced, easy read then buy this book - in fact even if you're not still buy it! It's amazing!!

I read this book in two sittings but I wish I could of devoured it in one. It was such a page turner and by the second page I was irreversibly hooked. It is packed full of beautiful, quotable prose that I couldn't stop rereading. One of my favourite things about the book was the way that Iceland and it's geography and weather became a character in itself. The whole book felt bleak and cold just like the landscape.

I really enjoyed the way this story was told through a mixture of first and third person narrative. It worked perfectly and flowed seamlessly.

I won't tell you much of the plot as I think it is a book that works well not knowing much before you go in. That's how I experienced it anyway. All you need to know is that it is based on a real historical event yet captures for the first time the essence of Agnes Magn�?�?�?�ºsd�?�?�?�³ttir - the last person in Iceland given execution as a punishment for their crime.

Review quote

'Burial Rites is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting.' Geraldine Brooks, author of Year of Wonders '[An] astonishing first novel' Instyle 'A compelling read, heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.' Anne Berry, author of The Hungry Ghosts 'Hannah Kent's gorgeous and haunting Burial Rites will touch your heart.' Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat 'So gripping I wanted to rush through the pages, but so beautifully written I wanted to linger over every sentence. Hannah Kent's debut novel is outstanding.' Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles 'Hannah Kent has crafted a genre all her own. Burial Rites is both a compelling thriller and a profound meditation on a mythic landscape.' Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean 'Spell-binding and moving, it's the kind of novel that gets under your skin, moves your blood, your heart. A bravura debut.' Megan Abbott, author of The End of Everything and Dare Me 'With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights... A magical exercise in artful literary fiction' Kirkus starred review 'Burial Rites, Kent's compelling fictionalised account of the end days of Agnes Magnusdottir ... with its glimpse into icy frontier lands, the struggles of a farming peasantry, the looming shadow of an executioner's axe and a strong, if misunderstood, female character ... uses extracts from the historical records to stitch together a credible account of a woman more victim than villain.' Age 'The most talked about Australian debut novel in years. Burial Rites reimagines the life and death of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland.' Australian 'Hannah Kent has a fine turn of phrase ... that makes Agnes Magnusdottir, the central figure in her debut novel, both elusive and captivating ... Kent is to be commended for being drawn to a story and a character rather than any narrow cultural agenda. Burial Rites is far removed from us in time and place and, ironically, this fact makes it an intimate experience. It draws close to the bones and sinews of human experience as it gives voice to a yearning for more than the law can provide.' Sydney Morning Herald 'This compelling, ripped-from-real-life tale reminds me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace' Karin Slaughter, best-selling author of Kisscut

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