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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2014 Indie Awards
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed her spiritual guardian, will listen to Agnes’s side of the story. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family’s attitude to Agnes starts to change - until one winter night, she begins her whispered confession to them, and they realise that all is not as they had assumed.
Based on a true story, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving book 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.
©2013 Hannah Kent (P)2013 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"Here is an original new voice, with a deep and lovely grasp of language and story. Hannah Kent's first novel, Burial Rites, is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting." (Geraldine Brooks)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sharon on 07-18-13

Icelandic Drama

What did you love best about Burial Rites?

The story was unfolded in a most intriguing manner.

What did you like best about this story?

The descriptions of the characters, the cold icelandic weather and the living environs that the characters performed their day to day tasks in.

Which character – as performed by Morven Christie – was your favorite?

Agnes

Who was the most memorable character of Burial Rites and why?

Agnes was revealed as an intelligent and compassionate lady who was convicted of a crime that she was sentenced to die for, but the unraveling of the story reveal the unfortunate circumstances and a questionable application of justice.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Kerrie on 06-13-13

A fascinating journey

I selected this book as it had got so much press and the reviews were gushing to say the least. The reviews don't exaggerate - It is an amazingly well written story about a place that I have never even thought about. Hannah Kent has a very bright future, her novel is incredibly engrossing. Morven Christie's narration is pretty close to perfect - she knows how to pause for dramatic effect and how not to rush, which is integral to this story.There were times when the narration was so evocative that I started shivering, empathizing with the cold conditions in the novel. The pronunciation of the Icelandic names was a joy to listen to and added immensely to my enjoyment. If you like novel's that take you to new and different locations (seriously who would have known anything about 19th century Iceland??) then this truly is a delight.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anthony on 06-30-13

Engaging, spirited, beautiful

Wonderfully written and beautifully narrated story based on characters and events in Iceland in the 18th Century. It revolves around a young woman (Agnes) sentenced to death for her supposed involvement, with two co-accused (one fo whom is subsequently released), in arson and the murder of two others. Prior to her death by hanging, Agnes is accommodated by the family of a district official, and counselled by a trainee priest. Through different voices and perspectives we learn of Agnes' life and passions, her relationships with the co-accused and victims, as well as with the family (divided in its response to her) and priest (naive but rises to the occasion). It is compulsive reading/listening, offering great insights into the social structures and norms of life in Iceland at the time - including attitudes to women and to those from lower social classes. The author, a young Australian, first learned of this story while spending time in Iceland, and followed up with much deeper research based on documents and interviews. A fine story, finely written, and finely read.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Zack on 09-27-16

Academic and bland.

Relentlessly boring, burdened by endless imagery and the absence of narrative depth. I understand the complexity in carving out this story, I just did not enjoy the anamorphic narration, relentless descriptions of emotion and the overt dealings with misogyny and misguided religion. Others will love it. I did not.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Zakgirl on 02-13-16

Well researched and very believable

The ending was no surprise as a documentary was what sparked my interest in this novel and they gave away the ending. Even so, the book was not ruined by this. In fact it made it more intriguing. Well written and researched. Very believable characters and plot. Even though this fiction was drawn from factual accounts of the time it was definitely not presented in a lecturing academic way - a most challenging read that takes you to the time and place in which it was set in a very real way. Cudos to the Author.
Audio/narration was exceptional too.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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