Burial Rites

Burial Rites

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
*Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence*

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?
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
ISBN: 9780316243926
Branch Call Number: FICTION KEN
Characteristics: 322 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 06, 2018

Burial Rites is such a beautiful and heartbreaking novel. It evolves around the last execution in Iceland. The story is absolutely brutal because of its realistic nature. I felt empathy for Agnes and anger against the people who wronged her. The emotions felt by Agnes is accentuated by Kent's lyrical writing style. The language and content is such a strong contrast! It made me find beauty in even the dreariest moments of life.

Apr 15, 2017

Lyrically written and hauntingly atmospheric, Burial Rites is one of the most captivating novels I've ever read. I'm now eagerly awaiting whatever work the author chooses to follow it with.

Jan 27, 2017

Burial Rites is a interesting and sometimes moving piece of historical fiction that follows Anges, a convicted murderess, as she is held before he death sentence. Blending in-depth research, good writing, and Icelandic traditions and practices in the 19th century, this novel is really well done. I listened to the audiobook version and thought the reader went a little slow sometimes and got annoyed at Anges once or twice but I suppose that is not very fair for someone waiting to die. Give it a read!

Dec 20, 2016

A really interesting read! Different to what I normally read, but something about this book made me keep reading. Sad. Depressing. But finally some hope.

Sep 21, 2016

Isolation is the word that springs to mind with this story - both geographically and emotionally. Slow moving but definitely not boring.

Sep 12, 2016

I started this twice - glad I persisted the second time. I liked both the writing and the story.

lbarkema Aug 28, 2015

I don't know how it could be so slow moving, yet I read it quite quickly- but that's what happened. I really enjoyed the writing in this novel, and the setting was described very well. It helps that I have been to Iceland in winter too. What kept me from really, really enjoying it was it's somewhat nonexistent plot. I guess considering it was a murder, I expected it to move along faster and have a bit more action, but it didn't. Overall, I'd try something again from this author in the future.

PoMoLibrary Jul 30, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Mallee: A story similar to Alias Grace (Atwood), set in Iceland in the 1800s.

samdog123 Jun 12, 2015

A dark, interesting read from a new author. Set in Iceland in the 19th century, we meet our main character, Agnes, accused of murdering her lover and employer. The setting is grim and cloying and the characters are well-drawn. The book is based on the actual case of the last person to be beheaded in Iceland for murder.

Jun 01, 2015

Set against the beautifully bleak landscape of rural Iceland, this piece of historical fiction was gorgeously written. Burial Rites will likely appeal more to fans of character-driven fiction rather than those who enjoy fast-paced, moving plots.

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Mar 16, 2014

eurydice_orpheus thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99

Nov 13, 2013

DarcieC thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top