Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Burial Rites

Burial Rites is the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir. The last woman to ever be executed in Iceland.

This is Hannah Kents debut novel and what a fabulous story teller she is. Burial Rites has to be my favourite novel of 2014 and one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time.

Kent’s ability to transport you directly to the frozen hills of Iceland in the early 1800’s is pure magic. Her depth of research is impeccable. Whilst this is a harsh and difficult story to tell I am so thankful that Kent took the time to do so. My heart hung heavy for some time after closing the last pages of this book. I found it very difficult to pick up something else to read for weeks. That is when I truly know I have read something of beauty, something that has touched my soul, etched onto my heart.

Agnes was accused of murdering two men, one of them her employer, she is required to spend out her time waiting for her execution with a local Icelandic family, much to their disgust. And so the story of her last few months on earth begins.

I have found it extremely challenging to write about this book. I feel I owe it so much more than to simply tell you what it is about, but I’m struggling to acquire the words in which to do so.

This is not an easy Sunday afternoon by the pool type read, but one that will surely grip you, if you take the time to persevere with it. There are no major peaks and troughs throughout the saga, it is in fact quite a melodic piece. Once you have had a glimpse inside the life of Agnes and those around her it will be one that’s difficult to forget.

Far from your fast paced, page turner of a novel, it was for me, more of a sit down and mull over the lives of the characters and to admire their tenacity in living with such harsh conditions. Of how they simply accept their lives and the hand they have all been dealt.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.” I think this sums up perfectly what is truly at the centre of this novel.

Burial Rites is a piece of historical fiction that is a well researched, hauntingly moving account that will surely touch anyone that reads it. I am eagerly awaiting Hannah Kent to release her second novel, whenever that may be.

In simple pleasures you will find life’s treasures,   
Kylie xx


  1. I'm sold! I can't wait to read it.

  2. I already downloaded it onto my eReader. ;)

    1. Excellent! I hope you persevere with it as it does take a little while for the story to grab hold of you. Please let me know how it goes. :-)


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