- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Burial Rites Hardcover – 29 Aug 2013
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'A story of swirling sagas, poetry, bitterness, claustrophobia . . . through the long countdown towards Agnes's fate, it is Kent's heart-racing imagery that lingers . . . even the bleakness of Agnes's end, its gut-churning fear, holds an exhilaration that borders on the sublime.' Sunday Telegraph
‘A remarkable achievement . . . Burial Rites will stand comparison with Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang.’ Sunday Times
'This is a golden age both of historical fiction and of crime writing. A rare novel that combines both, this is one of the most gripping, intriguing and unique books I’ve read this year. Set in the harsh landscape of Iceland in the 19th century, it is a novel that bristles with beautiful description, that lays bare the harshness of women’s lives of the period and considers the nature of justice.' Kate Mosse
‘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
'The debut that everyone's talking about' Guardian
‘All this research has paid off in spades: the end result is a novel so steeped in period detail that the extracts lifted from original sources sit eloquently alongside the fictionalised account, the transition between the two being effortlessly smooth . . . Burial Rites is a debut of rare sophistication and beauty – a simple but moving story, meticulously researched and hauntingly told.’ Observer
'Startlingly vivid . . . This is a tormented tale of love and betrayal and divided loyalties recounted with heartfelt honesty . . . An exceptional debut.' Sunday Express
‘Hannah's rendering of Agnes Magnúsdóttir is as vivid and authentic as Mailer's Gary Gilmore, but done with greater economy and aplomb. She has resurrected her heroine with grace and skill; her writing style is innately lyrical and her descriptions are clear and beautifully constructed. Her dialogue is entirely believable, a thing not easily done. Some writers never get it right; Hannah has done it with seeming effortlessness in her first novel. Burial Rites is an amazing book. I was completely engrossed all the way through, and heartbroken at its end.’ Donal Ryan, Man Booker longlisted author of The Spinning Heart
‘Haunting . . . startlingly vivid, a poetic reimagining of a world where “autumn fell upon the valley like a gasp” . . . Kent skilfully ratchets up the sense of antagonism towards Agnes but also builds a recognisable picture of ordinary family life confronting extraordinary events . . . This is a tormented tale of love and betrayal and divided loyalties recounted with heartfelt honesty . . . An exceptional debut.’ Eithne Farry, Sunday Express
'This compelling, ripped-from-real-life tale reminds me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace' Karin Slaughter, best-selling author of Kisscut
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2013 GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARDSee all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book was recommended to me as being similar to The Miniaturist, which I had loved. In many ways, this is correct, as it's got the same sort of slow and detailed style to it, and Burial Rites is a book which needs to be read at a slower pace than some books. It's very atmospheric and drew me into the area and gave me an appreciation of the desolation of the landscape in Iceland at that time. Agnes's story is interesting to read and I enjoyed both the parts where she told the story and the bits in the third person from the viewpoint of the young priest she asks to help her through the time before her execution, and the various family members with whom she finds herself living.
This is a very good book and I enjoyed it very much, but I can't say it was the easiest read. It has a poetic style about it but I didn't find it over the top in this respect. I think it will be interesting to see what this author does next.
Based on real events and much research, the novel paints a vivid picture of a farming community in Iceland in 1828. Work is hard, unremitting, and at the mercy of the northern climate. Social strictures can be as unforgiving as the long, dark winters, with a casual cruelty that is too often disguised as religious respectability. Farms may be isolated but privacy is hard to come by with families and visitors sharing the communal living and sleeping space of the badstofa.
In this land of sagas, the stories people tell about others are not always true to actual life. The stories surrounding Agnes slowly unfold in third person supplemented with extracts from documents of the time. Agnes intersperses her thoughts in first person and her reflections add a depth of feeling and understanding to the narrative.
The story is definitely not 'feel-good’, but I would not describe it as miserable; fate may be cruel but humans can, and do, learn kindness. And the evocative writing is a pleasure to read, conjuring with almost physical intensity the sounds, smells, colours and textures of life at close quarters in this beautiful, harsh landscape. I found myself pulling an extra duvet over me, I was so convinced by the depiction of the cold.
If you don’t already know the end and want to keep the suspense, then don’t look up the actual case until after you’ve read it. Hannah Kent weaves an engrossing story of how it might have been.
It’s based on a real life crime in the early 1800s where three people in Iceland were convicted of murder and sent to live with different families whilst awaiting their fate: death by beheading. This crime has apparently been written about before but all the previous tellings painted Agnes, the main character in Burial Rites, as pure evil. Kent wanted to show a more balanced possibility and add some humanity to the character in her fictionalised account of Agnes’s months with the family tasked with keeping her a prisoner until her execution.
This was really well written and the characters were very believable. Kent has given them depth and the slow revelation of aspects of the story through the use of interspersed flashback worked really well for me. I’d definitely recommend it to others, even if you’re not usually into historical/period novels (which I’m not!)
What it is is beautiful, captivating, immersive and intriguing. Kent's writing style pulls you in and holds you there to the point where her description of the wild Icelandic landscape will leave you feeling chilly. Protagonist Agnes is a hard nut to crack, but as her story absorbs you more and more it's easy to forget why she is in the position she's in...
Look forward to reading more from this author. A wonderful debut.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews