Burial Rites

Front Cover
Picador, 2013 - Australian fiction - 338 pages
Contemporary fiction. SA Author. In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes's spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes's ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn't she? Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland's formidable landscape, where 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?

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quondame - LibraryThing

A strange novel about the last months of the condemned murderer Agnes Magnusdottir and a few of those who are witness to them, including the women of the household in which she is lodged and the young ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Beth_German - LibraryThing

A solid 4 star read but not one that everyone would enjoy due to the subject matter of the story. The words that come to mind are bleak, haunting, but so beautifully written. This book and the true facts upon which the story is built will stick with me for a long time. Read full review

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About the author (2013)

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. 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 In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.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.

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