Burial Rites

  • by Hannah Kent
  • Narrated by Morven Christie
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2014 Indie Awards
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed her spiritual guardian, will listen to Agnes’s side of the story. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family’s attitude to Agnes starts to change - until one winter night, she begins her whispered confession to them, and they realise that all is not as they had assumed.
Based on a true story, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving book about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, in which every day is a battle for survival.

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What the Critics Say

"Here is an original new voice, with a deep and lovely grasp of language and story. Hannah Kent's first novel, Burial Rites, is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting." (Geraldine Brooks)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Engaging, spirited, beautiful

Wonderfully written and beautifully narrated story based on characters and events in Iceland in the 18th Century. It revolves around a young woman (Agnes) sentenced to death for her supposed involvement, with two co-accused (one fo whom is subsequently released), in arson and the murder of two others. Prior to her death by hanging, Agnes is accommodated by the family of a district official, and counselled by a trainee priest. Through different voices and perspectives we learn of Agnes' life and passions, her relationships with the co-accused and victims, as well as with the family (divided in its response to her) and priest (naive but rises to the occasion). It is compulsive reading/listening, offering great insights into the social structures and norms of life in Iceland at the time - including attitudes to women and to those from lower social classes. The author, a young Australian, first learned of this story while spending time in Iceland, and followed up with much deeper research based on documents and interviews. A fine story, finely written, and finely read.
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- Anthony

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2013
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd