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Burial Rites

by

Burial Rites Cover

ISBN13: 9780316243926
ISBN10: 0316243922
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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?

Review:

"A magical exercise in artful literary fiction....With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights....Beautiful are Kent's descriptions of the interminable summer light, the ever-present snow and ice and cold of winter's gloomy darkness, the mountains, sea and valleys where sustenance is blood-rung from sheep." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Delves deep into Scandinavian history, not to mention matters of storytelling, guilt, and silence....Kent smoothly incorporates her impressive research...while giving life to these historical figures and suspense to their tales." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Rarely has a country's starkness and extreme weather been rendered so exquisitely. The harshness of the landscape and the lifestyle of nineteenth-century Iceland, with its dank turf houses and meager food supply, is as finely detailed as the heartbreak and tragedy of Agnes' life....[A] haunting reading from a bright new talent." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"In the company of works by Hilary Mantel, Susan Vreeland, and Rose Tremain, this compulsively readable novel entertains while illuminating a significant but little-known true story. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)

Review:

"Gorgeously atmospheric...[with] memorable, complex characters." The New Yorker

Review:

"A gripping narrative of love and murder that inhabits a landscape and time frame as bleak and unforgiving as the crime and punishment that occurred there." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"An excellent premise...[and] a gripping tale about what Agnes was actually guilty of." The New York Times

Review:

"Enticing....Kent...convincingly animates Agnes...showing her headstrong humanity and heart-wrenching thirst for life." Wall Street Journal

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 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Melinda Ott, June 6, 2014 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
I realize that I'm probably one of the last people--or at least one of the last book bloggers--to read this book. This is partly intentional. Right after I received this book, the buzz really started brewing about this book and I knew that I didn't want to read it in the midst of all the hype, thinking it would either lead me to think I liked it more than I did or lead me to be more critical than I should be about it.

So, I waited months and months before picking it up and, while I am glad I decided to wait out the hype on it, I will say that it was very deserving of the buzz. This is a devastatingly beautiful book. I could gush on and on about this, but instead I will focus on the two most elements of this book I found the most striking.

Kent's use of language is exquisite. It is very readable, which is a necessity when the subject matter is tough. But she isn't flowery or overly poetic. If anything, she's a bit stark--which fits well with this book. Iceland, especially in the winter, is a harsh land and Kent chooses a language that fits that. The characters are also very matter-of-fact people and giving them elaborate dialogue just would not fit.

Kent also expertly paces this book. It would have been very easy for her to lay down all of Agnes's cards at the beginning of the book and then let her character develop from there. Instead, Agnes first appears mysterious and surrounded in gossip and it is as the book progresses that the layers are peeled away, marching relentless towards the end of the book.

Burial Rites is a masterpiece, and one that I think has a wide appeal. I would especially recommend this book for book clubs looking for something meaty, but not overwhelming.
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NinaL, April 18, 2014 (view all comments by NinaL)
Burial Rites starts a little slow with the public announcements, letters, and ruminations. However, the narrative picks up when accused murderess Agnes Magnusdottir is transferred to the Jonsdottir farm. The Jonsdottir family is at first angered to be used as the holding house of this condemned woman of ill reputation, but each becomes embroiled in personal conflict as their regard towards Agnes either darkens, changes to pity, or possibly understanding, as the sentence drags through the summer and into fall. Agnes' transfer creates great tension at the Jonsdottir farm; this, along with the earlier entries, work to pull the reader deeper into Agnes' story. Within a few chapters, Burial Rites became difficult to put down. Hannah Kent's writing is quiet, intriguing, and her novel is beautifully written.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316243926
Author:
Kent, Hannah
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Publication Date:
20140431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Burial Rites New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316243926 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A magical exercise in artful literary fiction....With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights....Beautiful are Kent's descriptions of the interminable summer light, the ever-present snow and ice and cold of winter's gloomy darkness, the mountains, sea and valleys where sustenance is blood-rung from sheep."
"Review" by , "Delves deep into Scandinavian history, not to mention matters of storytelling, guilt, and silence....Kent smoothly incorporates her impressive research...while giving life to these historical figures and suspense to their tales."
"Review" by , "Rarely has a country's starkness and extreme weather been rendered so exquisitely. The harshness of the landscape and the lifestyle of nineteenth-century Iceland, with its dank turf houses and meager food supply, is as finely detailed as the heartbreak and tragedy of Agnes' life....[A] haunting reading from a bright new talent."
"Review" by , "In the company of works by Hilary Mantel, Susan Vreeland, and Rose Tremain, this compulsively readable novel entertains while illuminating a significant but little-known true story. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Gorgeously atmospheric...[with] memorable, complex characters."
"Review" by , "A gripping narrative of love and murder that inhabits a landscape and time frame as bleak and unforgiving as the crime and punishment that occurred there."
"Review" by , "An excellent premise...[and] a gripping tale about what Agnes was actually guilty of."
"Review" by , "Enticing....Kent...convincingly animates Agnes...showing her headstrong humanity and heart-wrenching thirst for life."
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