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?
PARTICULARS OF THE BOOK :
Published by: Little, Brown & Co.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Hannah Kent
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
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 Magnúsdóttir.
Hannah is the co-founder and publishing director 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 In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.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. It has been translated into twenty languages.
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :
I don't know what took me such a long time to get through my book stacks to finally reach "Burial Rites," except the stacks were daunting and I was fighting my way there! I am pleased to have gotten there because this is one of the books I would have named one of the best of 2013.
It is an astonishingly beautiful story. Lyrically written. With the poetic hand of Hannah Kent, the characters, landscape and even the barren and filthy hovels of the farming people are gorgeous in their own way. She is a master writer of the first quality. Her wording is simply intoxicating, and makes the story feel very ancient and very important at the same time. I fell into it and couldn't put it down.
Not having the best experience with Iceland or the Icelandic language, I was at first worried about reading the book, but soon found that the names and places flowed very easily. Kent has given us a small pronunciation guide and map at the beginning to guide us through. It led me along quite well.
And, I learned to love this exotic element about the story.
Hannah Kent's characters are visceral and alive, carrying so many strong emotions you can't help being moved by them. Agnes, of course, will tear your heart out with her story and her current situation which seems inevitable and hopeless. The young Reverend carried frustration with him for me...and each character gave off this sort of strong feeling, touching me as I read about them. This isn't a book that asks nothing of you as a reader. It draws you in and challenges you to become a part of it!
"Burial Rites" is one of the best of the new authors I've read in 2013, and it's also one of the best all around I read. I highly recommend it to everyone. The book promises to touch you, and change your way of looking at women in the 1800's.
I loved it!
5 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame