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A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: Exploring the final months of an Icelander maid charged with murder and condemned to execution in 1829 is hardly a reader-friendly subject for a novel. But in her mesmerizing debut, Hannah Kent offers a retelling of actual historical events that makes it impossible not to become invested in understanding the guilt--or innocence--of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last person to be executed in Iceland. Kent seamlessly shifts between historical documents and different characters’ perspectives with a lyricism that makes every tortured thought and charged interaction echo in the silence of Iceland’s stark landscape. As details of Agnes’s involvement in the crime come to light, this thoroughly researched debut novel asks us to examine the significance of stories--both the ones that others tell about us and the ones that we tell about ourselves--ultimately offering Agnes a chance at a more compassionate story than the one history has given her. --Heather Hunt
Photos from Hannah Kent, Author of Burial Rites"Little Forest" in Saudarkrokur, North Iceland Traditional turf homes, North Iceland Glumbaer, North Iceland Horses in Vatnsdalur, North Iceland About the Author:
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 Magnúsdóttir. 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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