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Burial Rites
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2014 Books > May 14 Burial Rites

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Penny | 680 comments Mod
Here is our next book - looks good!


Penny | 680 comments Mod
here's the blurb on this book:-

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?(less)


message 3: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 114 comments I read this recently I thought it was great. Such an impressive debut!

I am new here - do you prefer waiting until later in the month to discuss spoilers?


Sandra Danby (sandradan1) | 10 comments Ooh this is my next book to read. Racing through the current one, 'The Cardturner' by Louis Sachar. Have been saving 'Burial Rights' for a weekend reading splurge. SD


message 5: by Val (last edited May 03, 2014 06:10AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Jen wrote: "I read this recently I thought it was great. Such an impressive debut!

I am new here - do you prefer waiting until later in the month to discuss spoilers?"


You could hide any spoilers using html commands, Jen.

If you have not used this facility before:
Click on (some html is ok) above the comment box
Choose spoiler: < spoiler >...< /spoiler > (without the spaces)
Type the bit you want to hide between the commands (where the dots are)

It will then appear like this:
(view spoiler)
and anyone who wants to read it can click on it.


message 6: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 114 comments Thanks Val!


Jayme Val wrote: "Jen wrote: "I read this recently I thought it was great. Such an impressive debut!

I am new here - do you prefer waiting until later in the month to discuss spoilers?"

You could hide any spoilers..."



Thanks for the info, Val. I've only been on goodreads since 2010 and I didn't know that :)


Penny | 680 comments Mod
Jen - all your comments are very welcome - its kind to use the spoiler system if revealing something crucial - for those of us still reading!

I have this on audio - that usually takes me longer than just reading so I will probably be done later in the month. Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks!


Ruthie (ruthiea) | 70 comments I really enjoyed the details in the book, the day-to day information on life in such a harsh country so long ago. I loved the detailed descriptions of the types of homes, and how they lived in it, what they ate, their clothing, how they farmed the land etc. I was impressed with the level of literacy of the population - very high, which helped the author with her research. The fact that the author chose a very different take on the murderess than most throughout history was very compelling to me. For almost two hundred years Agnes was portrayed in a single light, here the author dares to takes a fresh look, a more compassionate view of her story, which is quite refreshing.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I am reading this book, and all of a sudden The Heretic's Daughter is calling out to me. I like the mood, and the tone of this book. However, after I read about Margarit's cough & illness in the early chapters, I got a cough & respiratory infection myself. Keep your wits about you reading this book - the images and tone create a magnificent mood & reality that may want to seep into your life!


Penny | 680 comments Mod
Cat Grimalkin wrote: "I am reading this book, and all of a sudden The Heretic's Daughter is calling out to me. I like the mood, and the tone of this book. However, after I read about Margarit's cough & illness in the ..."
oh dear Cat - dont empathise too much as this is getting darker!! I am quite enjoying the audio so far.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Penny wrote: "Cat Grimalkin wrote: "I am reading this book, and all of a sudden The Heretic's Daughter is calling out to me. I like the mood, and the tone of this book. However, after I read about Margarit's c..."

Thanks, Penny. I have begun a lighter novel for adolescence called the Egypt Game that should balance me out.

Have a good day~ :)

C. N.


message 13: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val It is dark and, because it is based on a real case, we know how it will end, but it is still a compelling read.

I agree with Cat: it is better to have a lighter themed book to read at the same time.


Diane | 128 comments Wow, I just started Burial Rites and can't put it down. Really, really engrossing.
How did people survive in those days? Reading this makes me thankful for central heat, indoor plumbing and in particular, hot showers, and vegetables. When Margret ordered her to bathe because she didn't want more lice in the house than they already had, my skin crawled.


Susan I read this a while ago - really strong themes and, even though you know what is coming, it is very moving.


Diane | 128 comments Susan wrote: "I read this a while ago - really strong themes and, even though you know what is coming, it is very moving."
That it is.


Ruthie (ruthiea) | 70 comments Diane wrote: "Wow, I just started Burial Rites and can't put it down. Really, really engrossing.
How did people survive in those days? Reading this makes me thankful for central heat, indoor plumbing and in par..."


That's what I love about the historical aspect of Historical Fiction! I love the nitty Gritty dirty details - and yes, they do make me so grateful to live in a first world country in 2014.

This author did a ton of research and it shows in all the details!


message 18: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 114 comments Diane wrote: "Wow, I just started Burial Rites and can't put it down. Really, really engrossing.
How did people survive in those days? Reading this makes me thankful for central heat, indoor plumbing and in par..."


It was the coffee that got me! When the servants took a weeklong journey to bring back provisions, including a tiny portion of coffee for visitors....I shuddered!! But in all seriousness, the sense of time and place were conveyed very well.


Sandra Danby (sandradan1) | 10 comments I've just finished this. I think it is an amazing book by a debut author. I was there, with Agnes. I don't often say 'fantastic' but it was fantastic! SD


Penny | 680 comments Mod
oh - Sandra - I am enthralled too but I have it on audio and somehow that is slowing me down -I can only listen when no one is around!!! The writing is very assured for a first time author dont you think?


Diane | 128 comments Penny wrote: The writing is very assured for a first time author don't you.."
Startlingly good for a first novel.


Penny | 680 comments Mod
I am still working my through this - it s about 16 hours long and I have about 3 to go! There are parts where I find it very slow - lots of detail on how to remove a sheep's skin not so much movement on plot. still I need to know how it ends


what do you all make of the life in Iceland? I am appalled at the power of the clergy disregarding evidence, keeping ministerial books on everyone - so intrusive.


Diane | 128 comments I like audio books in the car but generally like to listen to lighter fare than Burial Rites. I don't think I would have liked listening to it.

The clergy all over the world have historically had tremendous power over their flock and with power, of course, comes those who abuse it. How many were burned at the stake for witchcraft or for heresy? How many were tortured until the Inquisition got the 'right' evidence? Even today in many third world countries the power of the religious leaders and the abuse of it by some is appalling.
I think the most abuse has occurred where the government supported/supports a particular religion.


Sandra Danby (sandradan1) | 10 comments Penny wrote: "oh - Sandra - I am enthralled too but I have it on audio and somehow that is slowing me down -I can only listen when no one is around!!! The writing is very assured for a first time author dont yo..."

Yes, not like a debut novel at all. Apparently she was mentored by Geraldine Brooks, which has to help! SD


Penny | 680 comments Mod
Jen - what were your thoughts about the novel ?


message 26: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen | 114 comments Oh I'm glad I came back to this thread! Thanks for asking, Penny. I thought it was great. I gave it a four star rating, but really it was close to a five for me. I've recommended to several people.

I think what struck me most was the atmosphere of the book. I think the author did a marvellous job - it felt so unique to the time and place it is set in. I felt I really understood daily life in rural Iceland 200 years ago. I can almost describe reading the book as being in a trance... I felt transported.

The story itself was also riveting. I didn't believe for a moment it would end otherwise, but it was suspenseful all the same.

I'm amazed that this is Kent's first novel. I'll definitely be looking out for more from her.


Penny | 680 comments Mod
I finished this a few days ago - the audio version. For me it was a 4 star book - I felt the setting and the historical facts and descriptions were very well done. The whole story though had a sense of doom and gloom, almost to the point of a relentless downward spiral. There was so little feeling shown to Agnes thoughout her life - all the servants, the homesteads, her family and the men - oh heavens the men! where was their morals? where were they even held accountable? Even the reverend was held in check by his position in society and his father.
Also the whole experience of living in such an awfully harsh environment - I cringed so much at the setting - I hate the cold!
Still the writing suited the subject being spare and somewhat detached - definitely an author to watch.


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