Read: Burial Rites

Read: Burial Rites

Burial Rites

Hannah Kent (a review)


Why did I read it?

I’m not going to lie – despite the raving reviews of this book, I was not one bit interested in reading it.  It sounded way too heavy going for my liking…but it was my book club’s selection, so I went with it.

What’s it about?

Agnes is the last woman – and one of the last people – to be sentenced to the death penalty in Iceland.  Charged with the brutal murder of her former employer, she is sent to a remote farm to work whilst she awaits execution.  The family she is to stay with is horrified at the thought of her being in their home.  Over time though, they realise that perhaps there is more to Agnes’ story than the sensationalist tales that have been circulating through the region.

The bits I loved?

Hannah Kent is definitely a very talented writer.  Her words were poetic and her research must have been crazy-thorough in order to recreate that time and place.  She was also able to create characters who, on the surface, are incredibly unlikable and yet you feel for each and every one of them.  I was definitely drawn into the strange world of late 19th century Iceland and I found myself wanting Agnes to be saved (and that is not a spoiler…clearly we knew how the story would end before it began!)

The bits I didn’t love so much?

There were moments that were very slow moving and the story was tragic – it’s not exactly an uplifting tale!  In saying that, I expected both of these things (you can’t set a story in Iceland, over a 100 years ago and not anticipate a bit of detail!) and I think that the author handled this extremely well.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, I would.  It was certainly interesting and it definitely made me think.  I can’t say that I enjoyed it – but I appreciated it and I think any reader would.  It was a story that will stick with me for a long time.


Have you read a book recently that you never would have usually picked up?

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