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?
Burial Rites is one of those truth is stranger than fiction but fiction isn't as forgiving even when the truth (certain versions of it anyway - which is kind of the point) sets you free kind of reads. Its fairly gut wrenching and very slow paced but there's also a kind of method to the madness in the form that like life no one can truly know the whole story (considering the book is loosely based on actual events) its depicted and executed very well. Although Burial Rites should come with a content warning I believe the graphic detail is sort of warranted because it really brings to light just how extreme a situation it is and the way that situation can affect a person so readers really get a better grounding in what Kent is trying to get across. (Note, I prefer the cover on the print edition I have over the new digital one. I feel it suits the emotional environment better than the new one) Four stars for Burial Rites.