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Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Debut Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on Burial Rites

Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013.

September 2013 Debut of the Month.

This mesmerising and evocative debut based on a true story about the last execution in Iceland is well written, well documented and exhaustively researched.

Agnes Magnusdottir is sent to a farm in northern Iceland, awaiting execution for the murder of her lover, but as she tells her story to a local priest it is clear truth very much depends on who it is you believe.


With its harsh winter setting and subject matter, the book is emotionally draining but compelling nonetheless. The characters and detail bring this forgotten time, place and lifestyle vividly to life.

 

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Burial Rites a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Burial Rites is a mesmerising piece of historical fiction and one of the best début novels I have ever encountered.' - Nicola Foster   Scroll down to read more reviews.

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Burial Rites Synopsis

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir 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 Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes's 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's story begins to emerge and with it the family's terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed. Based on actual events, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving novel about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we're told.

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MEGA GIVEAWAY! Win a year's worth of reading with our 2019 Star Books!

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Burial Rites Reader Reviews

We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Burial Rites. You can read their reviews below.

 

Jane Pepler - 'Burial Rites is a fascinating look at real life characters and events from Iceland's rich history.  A fantastic debut novel which was difficult to put down.'  Click here to read the full review.

Lesley Hart - 'The storyline can be likened to a flower gradually opening to reveal itself, petal by petal...I would definitely recommend this book, a wonderful debut from a compelling writer.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Kath Thornton - 'It is full of emotion and atmosphere; you feel the fear and isolation of the characters in the book which is due to the remarkable descriptive writing of Hannah Kent.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Megan Olwen Williams - 'A tale of tragedy and hardship, which is bravely portrayed with unforgiving detail...Although based around historical facts, it is Kent’s imagination that structures the tale and gives it emotion and depth.'  Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Harper - 'A terribly poignant, brilliantly written tale which will linger in your thoughts long after you have turned the last page.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Nicola Foster - 'Burial Rites is a mesmerising piece of historical fiction and one of the best début novels I have ever encountered.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Elisabeth Thomas - 'A spell binding debut novel from Hannah Kent which takes you on an emotional rollercoaster based on the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir...I was quickly drawn into this spell binding novel.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Phylippa Smithson - 'Brilliant! Burial Rites is a very different mystery and is absolutely compulsive reading as the story is unveiled.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Magda North - 'This debut novel is heart stoppingly good. I love, love, loved it.' Click here to read the full review.

 

 

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Praise for Hannah Kent:

 

'Burial Rites is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting.'
Geraldine Brooks, author of Year of Wonders

'[An] astonishing first novel'
Instyle

'A compelling read, heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.'
Anne Berry, author of The Hungry Ghosts

'Hannah Kent's gorgeous and haunting Burial Rites will touch your heart.'
Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

'So gripping I wanted to rush through the pages, but so beautifully written I wanted to linger over every sentence. Hannah Kent's debut novel is outstanding.'
Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles

 

'Hannah Kent has crafted a genre all her own. Burial Rites is both a compelling thriller and a profound meditation on a mythic landscape.
Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean

'Spell-binding and moving, it's the kind of novel that gets under your skin, moves your blood, your heart. A bravura debut.'
Megan Abbott, author of The End of Everything and Dare Me

'With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights... A magical exercise in artful literary fiction'
Kirkus starred review

Burial Rites Press Reviews

We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Burial Rites. You can read their reviews below.

 

Jane Pepler - 'Burial Rites is a fascinating look at real life characters and events from Iceland's rich history.  A fantastic debut novel which was difficult to put down.'  Click here to read the full review.

Lesley Hart - 'The storyline can be likened to a flower gradually opening to reveal itself, petal by petal...I would definitely recommend this book, a wonderful debut from a compelling writer.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Kath Thornton - 'It is full of emotion and atmosphere; you feel the fear and isolation of the characters in the book which is due to the remarkable descriptive writing of Hannah Kent.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Megan Olwen Williams - 'A tale of tragedy and hardship, which is bravely portrayed with unforgiving detail...Although based around historical facts, it is Kent’s imagination that structures the tale and gives it emotion and depth.'  Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Harper - 'A terribly poignant, brilliantly written tale which will linger in your thoughts long after you have turned the last page.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Nicola Foster - 'Burial Rites is a mesmerising piece of historical fiction and one of the best début novels I have ever encountered.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Elisabeth Thomas - 'A spell binding debut novel from Hannah Kent which takes you on an emotional rollercoaster based on the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir...I was quickly drawn into this spell binding novel.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Phylippa Smithson - 'Brilliant! Burial Rites is a very different mystery and is absolutely compulsive reading as the story is unveiled.' Click here to read the full review.

 

Magda North - 'This debut novel is heart stoppingly good. I love, love, loved it.' Click here to read the full review.

 

 

_______________________________

 

 

 

Praise for Hannah Kent:

 

'Burial Rites is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting.'
Geraldine Brooks, author of Year of Wonders

'[An] astonishing first novel'
Instyle

'A compelling read, heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.'
Anne Berry, author of The Hungry Ghosts

'Hannah Kent's gorgeous and haunting Burial Rites will touch your heart.'
Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat

'So gripping I wanted to rush through the pages, but so beautifully written I wanted to linger over every sentence. Hannah Kent's debut novel is outstanding.'
Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles

 

'Hannah Kent has crafted a genre all her own. Burial Rites is both a compelling thriller and a profound meditation on a mythic landscape.
Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean

'Spell-binding and moving, it's the kind of novel that gets under your skin, moves your blood, your heart. A bravura debut.'
Megan Abbott, author of The End of Everything and Dare Me

'With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights... A magical exercise in artful literary fiction'
Kirkus starred review

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781447233176
Publication date: 27/02/2014
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781447233169
Publication date: 29/08/2013
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781447233169
Publication date: 29th August 2013
Author: Hannah Kent
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 378 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Hannah Kent

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 Magnusdottir. 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. Author photo © Nicholas Purcell

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