Book Review: Hannah Kent Burial Rites

This is an excellent book.

Based on true events, Hannah Kent tells the tragic story of Agnes, a farm worker in Victorian Iceland. Accused and convicted of murder, Agnes is sent to live on a remote farm while she awaits execution by beheading. As the author delineates the detail of Agnes’ mundane days more is revealed about what really happened and the reader’s sympathy for Agnes grows.

The real joy of this book is the quality of the writing. The description of the vicious hardness of rural life in Iceland is beautiful. It reminded me in some ways of Wuthering Heights because of this. The weather and landscape are always central, indifferent to the goings on of humanity. The book is visceral, uncompromising, as cold as a shard of ice.

I loved it.

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