Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites is about the last Execution in Iceland. This is the story of Agnes Magnusdottior who was charged and executed for the brutal murder of her master and a guest in 1828 and sent to an isolated farm to await her execution.

This book is a riveting historical/fiction book.  It tells the story of Agnes in a first person narrative.  Hannah Kent used transcripts from the trial, first account memories by the family that kept her on the farm, and the memories of her priest. The fiction comes from some names being changed or added narrative, but for the most part this is a historical book about a women accused and charged with murder and how she coped with the fact that she was going to die for a crime she did not commit.

In this book you will find the struggle of a woman who had no control over her life and was treated as a murderess by everybody because she was condemned for the crime.  They did not have prisons in Iceland at the time so you were sent to the homes of the district officer to be held until your sentence was fulfilled.  This story tells how Agnes was treated by her jailers.  It shows a woman who has courage under pressure and just tries to live the rest of her time with dignity. The family who has to hold her learns the true meaning of charity and judgement as they listen to her story as she talks to her priest and finds out that she has been wrongly condemned.  The Hate they have for her in the beginning turns into respect for this woman.

Wonderfully descriptive about the conditions and landscape.  This book will have you wondering what will happen next and hoping for second chances even though you know how it is going to end.

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