Burial Rites

  • by Hannah Kent
  • Narrated by Morven Christie
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, Burial Rites evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

One of the absolutely Best Books

Would you consider the audio edition of Burial Rites to be better than the print version?

Can not answer that


Who was your favorite character and why?

Agnes is a individual who had me in gripping sadness. I realize life was much harder with weather and very few of the comforts we have now but the loss of a mother so young and the inability to have little rights of=r say on your future was reportedly heavy.
How could one go on for so may years with little appreciation for one's work and kindness and never feeling safe or secure in knowing you have home and food is thought provoking.


Any additional comments?

The author gave a balanced review of Agnes's life and left me with many nights thinking of Agnes and her grief. I could not get this character out of my thoughts. How she endured her life sentence and how she offered kindness and life saving tactics while waiting for that last day. There was so much passion in the story as well as care in presenting many actual happenings from here historical investigations.

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- yvonne5588

Cannot stop thinking about this book

This book had been on my "to-listen" list for a while when I finally decided to pick it up right before a vacation to Iceland. Since it took place there, it felt like the perfect lead-in to my trip, and I hoped I might even learn a thing or two about the country itself. I certainly was not prepared for how much I was going to fall in love with this beautiful, emotionally devastating story. Months later, I find I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Burial Rites tells the fictionalized story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a real woman who was sentenced to execution for her role in the murder of two men in 1928. Author Hannah Kent couldn't have set the scene more perfectly. Her descriptions of the harsh, bleak Icelandic landscape brilliantly captured the mood of the novel, making me feel like I had been there before my plane even landed. Her prose is rich with vibrant (and sometimes uncomfortable) detail, immersing the listener in the story completely through all five senses. It was mind-blowing to me that this was Kent's debut novel – I'll be eagerly awaiting her next.

The real star of the book was narrator Morven Christie, who absolutely nailed the unique pronunciations and sounds of the Icelandic language (I even referred back to the audiobook when trying to pronounce certain street & town names – she was THAT good). Her characterizations were so spot-on that at times I had to remind myself that she was the only one reading. In a book that shifts perspectives from chapter to chapter, her skillfully nuanced voice carried the story along effortlessly.

It sounds strange, but I wish I could somehow magically forget this book just so I could experience it again for the first time. But with a story and performance so unforgettable, that’s just not likely any time soon.
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- Sam - Audible

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2013
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio