Bonny's Reviews > Burial Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, audio

Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to come across the perfect book at the perfect time, and it has happened again with Burial Rites. The bleak, gray, and icy grip of winter here has provided the perfect backdrop for Hannah Kent's incredibly well-written debut novel. She tells the tragic story of maidservant Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last person executed in Iceland in 1830 after she and two others were convicted of killing Natan Ketilsson and neighbor Pétur Jónsson. Because there were no prisons in Iceland, Agnes is sent to live and work with District Officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and two daughters on their farm. We come to know Agnes and her story through her talks with her spiritual advisor, young reverend Tóti, who is meant to prepare Agnes for her punishment so she can meet her end with contrition.

Kent has researched her topics well, and writes about the details of water-collecting, knitting socks, making blood sausage, shearing, lambing, and slaughter that make life on the farm difficult on a good day. She never hits the reader over the head with these illustrative details, but they are presented simply as an integral part of the story.

I listened to this as an audiobook, and the narrator, Morven Christie, is superb, in her pronunciation of Icelandic names, timbre, and emotion. I was tempted to give Burial Rites four stars, but Christie's narration makes it a five-star listen. This is a book that will stay with me for quite a while.
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Reading Progress

January 4, 2015 – Shelved
January 4, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 4, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
January 11, 2015 – Started Reading
January 11, 2015 – Shelved as: audio
January 13, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Amber Glad you enjoyed this. The narration was superb. Nice review.


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Sounds intriguing


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