Burial Rites

Hannah Kent
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?


Reviewed: 2019-11-29
WOW that was so sad. I mean I knew it was going to be sad but it was still so sad! The writing in this book is GORGEOUS. I loved interspersing this with the audiobook so I got at least some correct translations. Agnes is such a wonderfully complex character, as are all the other main characters, and reading her story was beautiful, even through its hardships.
Reviewed: 2016-07-30


I went into this not really sure what the book even was about, so I had no expectations. I quite liked this book. That said, I did find it frustrating.

I think the most frustrating part of this book was the knowledge that there is more to the case, that it’s not as clear cut as it’s presented by everyone. Everyone makes snap judgement about Agnes, about whether she’s good or bad, a a wicked woman or someone sucked into a man’s plot. Agnes, as someone facing the chopping block, lets them make those assumptions and focuses on resigning herself to her inevitable fate.

It was frustrating at times, too, to see Agnes battle in turns with her desire to isolate herself and her desire to immerse herself into the family that is housing her. I did come to see this as reflective of her coming to grips with her imminent death and her struggle with accepting it. 

However, everything comes into place slowly. You see bits and pieces of what happened that fateful night that branded her a murderer. You come to see that even though it appears straightforward, nothing is ever truly simple. 

Rating: 4/5 stars

I liked it. It was beautifully written. It was bleak and sorrowful and beautiful. It brought you into the minds of people who have to live with a condemned woman. It brought you into the mind of a condemned woman, someone who must face death and realizes that she is not ready for it. Those last few desperate moments were the most terrible and beautiful parts of Agnes’s story.
Item Posts
@verkruissen completed #burialrites... on 2014-01-08