In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes' spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes' ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn't she? Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland's formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
Full Product DetailsAuthor: Hannah Kent
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Imprint: Picador Australia
Dimensions: Width: 15.50cm , Height: 2.60cm , Length: 23.60cm
ISBN 10: 1742612822
Publication Date: 01 May 2013
Audience: General/trade , General/trade , General , General
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: In Print
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Una writes: Hannah Kent's debut novel is remarkably accomplished; it's an atmospheric and completely convincing portrait of a woman in the bleakest of circumstances. In the poor and inhospitable world of 1820s Iceland, Agnes Magnusdottir has been sentenced to death for her part in a double murder. In a grim bit of humour drawn from real life, Iceland has no prisons and officials have had to send abroad to have the axe made. As Agnes awaits execution, she is sent to live with the local law man and his family on their isolated farm, from which the harsh terrain and approaching winter will make escape impossible. There she is given council by a young assistant reverend named Toti. As they endure the winter together, a complex bond forms between Toti, Agnes and her unwilling keepers, forcing them - and the reader - to ask whether Agnes deserves her fate. Based on the true story of the last woman to be executed in Iceland, Burial Rites is both meticulously researched and a remarkable feat of imaginative empathy. Through the use of both first and third person, Kent deftly sheds light on the intimacy of the crime committed and humanizes its perpetrator at the same time. Easily one of the most anticipated Australian books of 2013, we're confident in also calling it one of the best. This is an absolute triumph of a novel, complex, rewarding and unforgettable , we're sure that Burial Rites and the tragedy of Agnes Magnusdottir will continue haunt you long after you've finished.
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.
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