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Ial 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 other   “They will see the whore the madwoman the murderess the Rebound Roommate (Men of Lake Tahoe Series, 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 Cure for the Loneliness survival and asks how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the Bijoux en origami stories told by other   “They will Hookup Master (Men of Lake Tahoe Series, see the whore the madwoman the murderess the

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Burial Rites

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 uestion burns did she or didn't she?Based on a true story Bur Five stars with bells on It is rare to find a debut novel as

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In northern Iceland 1829 Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two menAgnes 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 I cannot write a review that can do this book justice This is


10 thoughts on “Burial Rites

  1. says:

    I cannot write a review that can do this book justice This is what goes through my head I am so happy I give few books five stars because then when I run into a book this good my five star rating means something You need a strong stomach for this book I have warned you Once you start you will not be able to read or do anything else There is NO humor in this book I always need humor except NOT here Don't ask me why I just didn't need it I was riveted from start to finish I needed to understand the relationships that lie at the core of what happened I was so focused on understanding the why I didn't have any need for humor Humor simply doesn't belong in this book This is Nordic historical fiction of times long past there is hunger and cold and darkness That is the way it was And people living in such difficult times did such twisted things The book is NOT spooky it is atmospheric The writing Similes metaphors they are all just perfect Stunning writing You will be moved Jeez at the end No not just at the end all the way through And this is very important Do not read this book Please if you possibly can listen to it The narration by Morven Christie is totally fantastic The Icelandic is perfect The tempo is slow and it must be slow so you can think about what is being said so you feel the doom and darkness of the events This is an excellently written book AND excellently narrated BOTH Phew after this I don't want another Nordic drama for a long time My emotions cannot take it I have been through a wringer with this oneI assume you have read the book description so you know that this story is based on true events There is a chapter at the end that explains all the research involved The author closely follows what is known There are different views of Agnes' behavior but the author has totally convinced my of what her study of the facts have lead her to believe This is one of the best books I have readlistened to this yearAfter halfI have listened to half now I still absolutely love it It has love too One of the few authors that can feed me a love story and please me immensely I am convinced Agnes did not kill the man she is accused of killing But history says she is beheaded for this reason Remember this is Nordic historical fiction Now I will say no I don't know what will happen in the rest of the book so I cannot possibly give a spoiler You read this book for the marvelous atmosphere and the lines Gorgeous lines A superb writerAfter 6 chaptersThis book is beautifully written Atmospheric Nordic historical fiction at its best The narration by Morven Christie is wonderful too Don't read it listen to it I have only listened to 6 chapters but there is no way this book can get anything but 5 stars Hannah Kent is Australian mentored by Geraldine Brooks This book is far better than any I have read by Geraldine Brooks and I am not disparaging Brooks when I say that


  2. says:

    Bleak but beautiful


  3. says:

    “They will say ‘Agnes’ and see the spider the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving They might see the lamb circled by ravens bleating for a lost mother But they will not see me I will not be there” On 12 January 1830 the last instance of capital punishment in Iceland occurred when Friðrik Sigurðsson and Agnes Magnúsdóttir were executed in Vatnsdalshólar in Húnavatnssýsla for the murder of two men While often painted as “monstrous” a cold blooded murderer a figure of Lady Macbeth style ruthlessness the truth is that there is a dearth of factual information about Agnes Magnusdottir While the instrument of her execution – a broad axe – has been preserved little is known about the life of the woman sentenced to death and publicly beheaded A third person was also convicted Sigridur Gudmundsdottir whose sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment “They said I must die They said that I stole the breath from men and now they must steal mine” Burial Rites is the product of a ten year uest to uncover what remains of Agnes Magnusdottir’s life Instigated by an exchange visit to Iceland after high school Hannah Kent spent the ensuing years absorbed in intense archival research examination of primary sources and retracing of Agnes’ steps from her birth to her final resting place Kent called the result a “speculative biography” a weave of fact and fiction and her own “dark love letter to Iceland” While Burial Rites presents the uestion of whether history has misrepresented Agnes the novel does not necessarily demand sympathy for her It does however offer a empathetic albeit ambiguous portrayal of a woman condemned – and an attempt to understand what circumstances might have led to her conviction in a double murder The result is an exuisitely beautiful novel Kent’s prose is rich and clear rendering the melancholic claustrophobic atmosphere of the Icelandic winter and Agnes’ impending execution in evocative language Agnes herself awaiting death and exiled at the farm of a minor public servant emerges from the pages vividly “Those who are not being dragged to their deaths cannot understand how the heart grows hard and sharp until it is a nest of rocks with only an empty egg in it I am barren; nothing will grow from me any I am the dead fish drying in the cold air I am the dead bird on the shore I am dry I am not certain I will bleed when they drag me out to meet the axe No I am still warm my blood still howls in my veins like the wind itself and it shakes the empty nest and asks where all the birds have gone where have they gone?” Kent writes with a kind of graceful maturity a depth of emotion that befits the subject matter This a story about a woman facing her imminent death a woman with one final opportunity to speak her truth and Kent captures the desperation isolation and grief of Agnes with stunning clarity The book is interspersed with Agnes’ inner monologues and these sections are the most vivid; pouring forth in a steam of raw psychological pain and striking imagery Though she spent much of her life employed as a servant and a period of her childhood as an orphaned pauper thrown on the mercy of the parish there is evidence to suggest that Agnes was also an intelligent and highly literate woman And this is the version of Agnes that Kent chooses to portray; beneath the hard and icy veneer of a woman reviled and silenced she is compelling passionate and astuteWhile living and working alongside Jón Jónsson and his family fragments of Agnes’ story begin to emerge As she confides in Tóti the young assistant priest commissioned to reconcile her to her fate and to God Agnes’ version of events takes shape as the remaining days of her life pass Through this gradual unwinding Tóti and the family come to confront the idea that the truth may not be all that it seems While we already know how Agnes’ story ends it’s this suggestion of dissonance between public opinion and her personal reality that fuel the novel’s tension Burial Rites suggests that truth is open to interpretation and is rarely as straightforward as commonly perceived Fear gossip and hatred twist the idea of Agnes into something horrifying and loathsome; an opinion no doubt perpetuated by the pervasive social religious and sexual politics of the time To this end Kent’s novel faithfully depicts life in 19th century Iceland and is immersed in historical detail without the narrative being weighed down or bloated It is clear that care has been taken to accurately represent the conditions of Agnes’ world to reconstruct the framework of her life with as much integrity as possible The gaps in historical record which Kent has fleshed out with fiction fit seamlessly within the broader context of time and place resulting in a story that respects its origins We cannot know the entirety of Agnes Magnusdottir’s story but Burial Rites asks us to remember her if not reconsider how history may have buried her own truth with her body Knutur Oskarsson who accommodated Hannah Kent during part of the writing and research of the novel stated “I do believe that the execution of Agnes is still an unhealed wound in Iceland in the history of Iceland”Burial Rites is a respectful and moving acknowledgment of that wound; a reminder that Agnes Magnusdottir’s voice once existed even if it was lost to time


  4. says:

    Five stars with bells on It is rare to find a debut novel as sophisticated beautiful and gripping as this one The desolation of the harsh Icelandic winter is felt in the very bones it's so hauntingly descriptive The feelings of despair the depth of fear are such that I was almost holding my breath at times I resented any intrusion that halted my reading of this book that's how gripping I found it Hannah Kent has announced her arrival in the literary world with an absolute gem of a book which just flows from first page to last Stunning


  5. says:

    Well this ain't Little House On The Prairie; and Toti I have a feeling we're not in Kansas any Through Hannah Kent's research we are transported to the early 1800's of rural Icelandic farming life With her considerable talent for writing research and her imagination for speculative biography we are privy to the story of Agnes Magnusdottir Iceland's last female convicted murderer sentenced to public executionAgnes has suffered through a life of hardships Through all that beset her she remained a hard working woman intelligent and worthy of anyone's friendship Yet because of her status as a bastard child and nothing than a pauper friendships are virtually nonexistent Iceland is a cold cold environment Provided here is a link to an interview with MsKent that I found interesting Hannah Kent discusses Burial Rites and speculative biographyhttpswwwyoutubecomwatch?v8gIC page 1112 Toti receives a letter delivered by messenger 'Tell Blondal that I will meet with Agness MagnusdottirI'm to be her spiritual advisor The servant gaped at him and then suddenly laughed 'Good Lord he muttered They pick a mouse to tame a cat'page 81 Agnes contemplations God has had His chance to free me and for reasons known to Him alone He has pinned me to ill fortune and although I have struggled I am run through and through with disaster; I am knifed to the hilt with fate page 87 Toti hears about Natan Ketilsson'He was a sorcerer The old woman next to him had spoken The family looked at her 'He was a sorcerer she repeated And he got what was coming to him 'Natan Satan that was his name Nothing he did ever came from God'page 103104 AgnesToti conversation Agnas shook her headTo know what a person has done and to know who a person is are very different things Toti persistedBut Agnes actions speak louder than words Actions lie Agnes retorted uickly Sometimes people never stood a chance in the beginning or they might have made a mistake It's not fair People claim to know you through the things you've done and not by sitting down and listening to you speak for yourself No matter how much you try to live a godly life if you make a mistake in this valley it's never forgotten No matter if you tried to do what was best No matter if your innermost self whispers 'I am not as you say' how other people think of you determines who you are' page 192193 Agnes contemplation There is an urgency that comes with slaughter Why not kill me here now on an unremarkable day? It is the waiting that cripples The sheep scavenge for grass Do these dumb animals know their fate? Rounded up and separated they only have to wait one icy night in fear I have been in the killing pen for monthspage 292 Excerpt from execution orders set out by the Secretary to His Royal Majesty GJohnson Copenhagen Denmark to Hunavatn District Commissioner Bjorn Blondal4d The selected executionerGudmundur Ketilsson shall at Your Honor's home and with secrecy and encouragement be trained for the mission that he has been entrusted with This will be done to ensure as much as possible that he at this important moment will not lose faith or control The beheading must be carried out in one blow without any pain for the convicted Gudmundur Ketilsson must only drink a very little dose of spirits


  6. says:

    So haunting so beautiful


  7. says:

      “They will see the whore the madwoman the murderess the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt They will say “Agnes” and see the spider the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving They might see the lamb circled by ravens bleating for a lost mother But they will not see me I will not be there”  When you already know how a story ends and yet you find yourself agonizing over the fate of its protagonists willing for History to change direction it says a lot about the writer's talent to make you so interested in the novel that you deny reality This is what happens with Hannah Kent's Burial Rites The haunting almost harrowing landscape of Iceland becomes a character as significant as Agnes Tóti Natan and Margret Each character springs out of the pages and right into your soul Agnes' voice is full of dignity and beauty even when she momentarily gives in to despair Margret is strength and determination Tóti is compassion and Natan is love as a destructive force Burial Rites is one of the best books in the Gothic Crime fiction genre a genre that is rejuvenated by authors like Hannah Kent and Cecilia Ekbäck “I remain uiet I am determined to close myself to the world to tighten my heart and hold what has not yet been stolen from me I cannot let myself slip away I will hold what I am inside and keep my hands tight around all the things I have seen and heard and felt” 


  8. says:

    It is the early nineteenth century Agnes Magnúsdóttir is charged with the murder of two men and is delivered to a small house on an isolated farm in northern Iceland where she must tend to daily chores and seek spiritual guidance from a priest named Toti while she awaits her execution They will see the whore the madwoman the murderess the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt They will say Agnes and see the spider the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving Burial Rites introduces readers to a setting not often explored in literary works The harsh winters of Iceland and the life of a farmhand in the early eighteen hundreds is vividly portrayed with special attention paid to the prevalence of odors and pungent aromas When his lips broke apart I could see that his teeth were rotting in his mouth His breath was awful but no worse than my own; I know I am rank I am scabbed with dirt and the accumulated weeping of my body blood sweat oil He had smelt her then; the sharp pungency of a neglected body of unwashed clothes and fresh sweat dried blood and something else from between those spread legs A stench peculiar to women This historical fiction novel explores the story of a woman who once existed but was poised to be forgotten to the passing of time Agnes Magnúsdóttir is reputable for view spoiler being the last person to be publicly beheaded in Iceland hide spoiler


  9. says:

    ”They said I must die They said that I stole the breath from men and now they must steal mine”I seem to have a talent to choose books with interesting opening lines and this one is no exception to the rule Regardless of the intriguing start the most important uestion is always the following though Was this as “exceptional” and “brilliant” as everyone claims it to be? Well the answer is “yes” and “no” If you’re looking for a fast paced historical fiction you most certainly chose the wrong book Nothing about “Burial Rites” is even moderately suspenseful or thrilling This book is no “whodunit” with lots of action it’s a slow and steady story about a woman convicted for murder ”I remain uiet I am determined to close myself to the world to tighten my heart and hold on to what has not yet been stolen from me I cannot let myself slip away I will hold what I am inside and keep my hands tight around all the things I have seen and heard and felt”In my opinion this doesn’t make it a bad book though uite the contrary Agnes’s story might have started out slowly but the longer you read the you get captivated by it At first I just read it and went with the flow enjoying all the details about life on Iceland in 1829 It’s obvious the people who lived there and probably also those who still live there had a tough life and I could feel the cold creeping up on me whenever I picked up the book in order to continue with Agnes’s story You can say what you want but I think Hannah Kent did a great job at capturing the soul and atmosphere of Iceland ”God has had His chance to free me and for reasons known to Him alone He has pinned me to ill fortune and although I have struggled I am run through and through with disaster I am knifed to the hilt with fate”Her writing style is beautiful and it fits the pacing of the book than just perfectly I loved how this didn’t just give us a glimpse at life on an island like Iceland but also taught us about the culture and habits of the people who live there About their beliefs and the gossip that spreads like the flu in winter I suppose in some ways life on an island is similar to life in a small town Everyone knows everybody and rumours become common knowledge before you even know they exist ”Who was she really? Probably not as people say she was but she made mistakes and others made up their minds about her People around here don’t let you forget your misdeeds They think them the only things worth writing down”It was those rumours that were Agnes’s downfall and once she had a certain reputation people didn’t bother to get to know her properly I mean even the family that had to take care of her until her execution only saw her as a criminal they had to house Except for Tóti the Reverend only Magret and Steina showed some compassion and a will to hear Agnes’s version of the story Lauga flat out refused to even acknowledge her existence and Jon mostly saw her as a means to an end As for everyone else The hands at their farm didn’t want to have anything to do with her and Blöndal the person who was in charge of her life did nothing to save it ”What will you have me do?”“Return to God’s word Forget Agnes’s She has nothing that you need to hear unless it is a confession”I swear I hated him so much for treating Agnes like an animal and not even seeing her as a human being He should have asked uestions he should have listened to Agnes instead of brushing her off That poor girl no one wanted to listen to what she had to say and she was too devastated to be able to voice her story at least at first Chapter by chapter we find out the truth about what happened at Ilugastadir and it’s a sad truth that casts a negative light on Agnes’s former employer and the judicial system of Iceland ”He was easy in his address Reverend He always knew what to say to people; what would make them feel good And what would cut the deepest” Natan was a very complex character and I think he kind of played every person he ever knew He seemed to be a really egoistic person and even though I know that both Agnes and Sigga were sort of in love with him I still think he didn’t deserve them He was a bad man and even though he didn’t deserve to die the way he did there is no denying that he was partly responsible for his own end Natan was a charming bastard if I ever saw one and poor Anges fell into his trap ”But how can one help the shape of one’s hand?” I was laughing“By covering it with another’s Agnes”The weight of his fingers on mine like a bird landing on a branch It was the drop of the match I did not see that we were surrounded by tinder until I felt it burst into flamesOf course this story is fictional and we’ll never know if the version Hannah Kent told us might have been the truth The author held closely to the official documentation of the events and carefully wove them into her book though and she did it so realistically that you have no trouble believing this could be the actual truth ; The mean thing about this book is that it develops so slowly You start to read it and continue and the you read the you want to know You go with the flow and before you even know it you’re so invested in Agnes’s story that the ending destroys you There is an entire book preparing the MC for her death and yet the reader isn’t prepared when it hits herhim like a brick I won’t lie I cried my eyes out because dang this hurt TT It was so heart breaking gut wrenching and sickening view spoiler ”Tóti” she said in a panicked voice “Tóti I don’t think I’m ready I don’t think they can do it Can you make them wait? They have to wait” Tóti pulled Agnes closer to him and sueezed her hand“I won’t let go of you God is all around us Agnes I won’t ever let go”I had a severe “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Passion of Christ” déjà vu here and it killed me That ending ARGH Poor Agnes The entire family and Tóti knew the truth yet they could do nothing to save her But they did what they could do They dressed her properly and gave her the honour of their company they stood by her side when she had to leave and this act of humanity I can’t even TT sobs again hide spoiler


  10. says:

    The writing is magnificent and fragile from the first sentenceThey said I must die They said that I stole the breath from men and now they must steal mine A 'woman' waits her public execution in Iceland in 1829faces her mortality Gloomy distressing haunting and captivating Off the chart debut writing talent for Hannah Kent Incredible story


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