Burial Rites

Burial Rites

A Novel

Book - 2013
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*Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence*

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?
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, c2013.
ISBN: 9780316243919
Characteristics: 322 p. :,map ;,25 cm.


From the critics

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Jun 23, 2019

Heart breaking story.. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Feb 04, 2019

It took me quite a few pages to get into this, but once I did, I liked it. It’s a sad story, but also an interesting insight into what must have been a difficult place and time to live.

Jan 04, 2019

Didn’t last 30 pages. Cold, muddy, Stark, rigid religious world.

Dec 13, 2018

Atmospheric novel about a woman condemned to death in early 1800s Iceland. Since there were no real prisons in Iceland at the time it was decided to house her with a local official to await her fate. The family slowly adjusts to having her there and her life story and the story of the crime are told in flashbacks. Vivid descriptions of the brutal conditions in the harsh climate and the barely subsistence farming really draw you in. Knowing the outcome does not detract or distract from the story and that it is based on fact just adds to the fascination. I did not expect to love this book but I did.

1829 – Iceland. Angus Magnusson is the last female publicly executed in the country. She was found guilty as an accomplice in the murder of two men.

But what part of a murder is valid for criminal punishment if the act was not done with malicious intent?

This gripping, well researched and detailed historical fiction provokes its readers to re-examine assumptions. It sheds some light in the bleak darkness surrounding her story. Haunting. This is Hannah Kent’s debut novel. (Submitted by Rei).

Oct 30, 2018

This subject initially sounded a little gruesome. I was amazed how quickly I was drawn into the story and really just wanted to keep reading. The story is woven in a manner that leads you through the many roads of Agnes's life. You'll get to experience the growth of the people who surround Agnes in the time before her death (except for the person in power). A very heartfelt book.

BPLpicks Oct 22, 2018

Hannah Kent’s debut novel “Burial Rites” tells a riveting fictional tale of true events surrounding an Icelandic woman, Agnes Magnúsdóttir, who was convicted of murder in the 1800’s. Readers can feel the cold and despair of this story permeating their bones with every page. The author exposes the tangled relationship that formed between captor and convict in the months leading up to her execution.

Aug 16, 2018

Based on a true story, this book is a well-researched account of life in early 19th century northern Iceland. Life was nasty, brutish, and short. People scratched out a living on subsistence farms, but owning land and livestock conferred relative wealth compared to the paupers, orphans, and hired help who had to rely on the community and poor farmers for work to survive. Suspense is maintained until the end as the mystery of what really happened on the farm is spun out in third person and first person accounts interspersed with real historical documents about the trial and execution. But what fascinates are the details about close, shared living quarters and about the endless tasks on the farm from spring to harvest to slaughter that must be done for survival over the long, dark, cold winter months.

kobrien3 Jul 18, 2018

Set in Iceland in the 1800's, Burial Rites tells the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir, a woman who was sentenced to death for the murder of her employer. Dark and beautifully written, this is almost equal parts historical fiction and crime novel. While Burial Rites is a bit of a slow burn, I nevertheless found it nearly impossible to put down, and was emotionally invested in Agnes' story until the very last page. If you are into historical fiction, true crime stories, or Iceland, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try!

Jun 07, 2018

Recently visited northern part of Iceland and found this true story from local people. It is hard to believe this story took place in such an isolated and remote area. There is a memorial marker where the tragedy (murder and burned down the house) happened the town called Illugastadi. I believe that the scenery hasn’t changed much since late 1800’s and when I stood this site, I could picture Agnes who were there on that night. I highly recommend to read this book and visit these places. The movie will be started to film near future, Jennifer Lawrence will play Agnes Magnusdottir.

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Jun 07, 2018

Kpaavola thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Mar 16, 2014

eurydice_orpheus thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Nov 13, 2013

DarcieC thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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