In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.
Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes's spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes's ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn't she?
Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland's formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
WINNER OF THE INDIE AWARDS DEBUT FICTION OF THE YEAR 2014
WINNER OF THE VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARD PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD 2014
WINNER OF THE FAW CHRISTINA STEAD AWARD 2014
WINNER OF THE ABA NIELSEN BOOKDATA BOOKSELLERS' CHOICE AWARD 2014
WINNER OF THE ABIA LITERARY FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014
WINNER OF THE SMH BEST YOUNG AUSTRALIAN NOVELIST 2014
WINNER OF THE BOOKTOPIA PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD 2014
SHORTLISTED FOR THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2015
SHORTLISTED FOR THE STELLA PRIZE 2014
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2014
SHORTLISTED FOR THE VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARD FOR FICTION 2014
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ALS GOLD MEDAL 2014
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 2013
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NIB WAVERLEY AWARD FOR LITERATURE 2013
Hannah Kent was born in Adelaide in 1985. As a teenager she travelled to Iceland on a Rotary Exchange, where she first heard the story of Agnes Magnusdottir. Hannah is the co-founder and deputy editor of Australian literary journal Kill Your Darlings, and is completing her PhD at Flinders University. In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award. Burial Rites is her first novel.
Modern & Contemporary Fiction