Burial Rites: Absolutely Loved it
By Hannah Kent
Burial Rites is the debut novel of Hannah Kent, an Australian author. She was 17 years old and traveled to Iceland as an exchange student. She has said, this is her love letter to Iceland.
The novel, which is historical fiction takes place in Iceland the year 1828. A 33 year old Agnes Magnustadottir, and Fredrik Siggurdsson, and Sigga Gudundsdottir were accused of two brutal murders of Natan Ketilsson, and Peter Jonsson at Illugastadir, Iceland. Agnes was the last person to be executed in Iceland.
After the trial, Agnes is sent to a family by order of the district commissioner Blondal. She will be staying there until her execution. The family, Jon, Margaret, Steina, and Lauga are not happy about this situation as you can imagine.
The novel has many layers. I absolutely loved this book. There are many themes to the book, and many questions to be answered. it just kept being build on and on.
Why was Agnes sent away to a family? Her family life as a child was not a happy one. Do you think it was destiny and fate? Do you think it was hopeless? Forever Agnes kept plugging along hoping things would change. Do you think her social status sealed her fate? How the priest Toti, was inept at first when he first encountered Agnes, but as the story unfolded it seemed he felt comfortable with Agnes as he learned about her. Natan was an evil man, but Agnes kept wanted to believe he loved her. The Iclandic landscape was bleak, and isolated, but there was also beauty that added to the the story. When Fredrik tried to commit the murder why couldn't he finish the job? What had to be difficult was dealing with one small room. No one had privacy. It must have been very difficult to keep secrets. Interesting that Natan was the only man with the two women present.
it was interesting that Jon, the father was kind to Agnes, Margaret the wife was not a very accepting person, and either was one of the daughters. But, as Agnes was telling her side of the story, Margaret starting to care about Agnes. Why do you think this was?
I read this for our book club. There were some of us that loved the style of the writing. Some of the members said they didn't like the book because it was so dark. Well, that is true. But, the writing style was wonderful. Burial Rites when I picked it up reminded me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, which I read and loved for the richness, and historical fiction. The same holds true of Burial Rites, I am very glad I read it. I recommend it for a book club, and there are many questions that will be asked from your book club. There are plenty of resources found about the book if you do a google search.
I have not felt like this in a long time, telling everyone that will listen, loved, loved Burial Rites. The last time was about a year ago, when I read Golem and the Jinni, another great book.