“Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent

“Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent

Narrated by Morven Christie

Blurb from Amazon: In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.

My thoughts: This story is dark and at times disturbing, but beautifully written and, in this case, beautifully narrated. I imagine that Agnes must have been a very difficult character to write. This woman is condemned to death but doesn’t know when, and while waiting she must continue to live and work to earn her keep. Her full story comes out in pieces either through conversations with other characters, or from her own inner musings. Agnes’s story is, as much as possible, based on the actual facts of her life and what a horrific one it was. I would not expect life in Iceland in the 1800’s to be in any way easy, but this woman, even as a child, was never offered even the smallest of comforts. I think the story does an excellent job of spotlighting the social issues of the time, some of which are still relevant today. There are also some interesting musings on what it means for a society to invoke capital punishment. This is a thought provoking and fascinating look at a life that never really had a chance. If your looking for something a little different, I would definitely recommend this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating  4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website


One thought on ““Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent

  1. I loved this book when I read it a few years ago. Some of her descriptions are wonderful, and left me with images of life at that time which I still vividly remember. Glad you enjoyed it too!


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