by : Hannah Kent
Life in 1830s Iceland is stark and difficult, but there is a sense of beauty and peace among those hardy enough to make a life there. This peace is disrupted by two brutal murders, news of which travels from settlement to settlement, the frenzy building as a young woman, Agnes, is accused, tried and convicted. She is sentenced to death. The governor decides Agnes must wait out her execution on an isolated farm. Her arrival there disrupts the quiet between the farmer, his wife and their two daughters, all of whom are horrified at the prospect of having this woman share their home, their life. Agnes herself is stoic, doing her work as best she can and only slowly letting down her guard to Toti, the young priest she has mysteriously chosen as her spiritual guide. As Toti struggles to guide Agnes towards redemption, the farmer's wife, Margaret, begins to sense that there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. A suspenseful and riveting novel rich with vivid lyricism and page-turning suspense, BURIAL RITES evokes a harsh and dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the heartbreaking question: how can one woman endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others? Based on a real-life story, this is an astonishing debut that heralds the arrival of a great new talent.