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Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

Hannah Kent Burial Rites
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Biographical note:

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 Magnúsdóttir. 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 In 2011 she won the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.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.

Main description:

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

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?

Review quote:

"A brooding, atmospheric debut."

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"A compelling read, heart-breaking and uplifting in equal measure."

Review quote:

"A magical exercise in artful literary fiction.... With language flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights.... Beautiful are Kent's descriptions of the interminable summer light, the ever-present snow and ice and cold of winter's gloomy darkness, the mountains, sea and valleys where sustenance is blood-rung from sheep."

Review quote:

"BURIAL RITES is a debut of rare sophistication and beauty - a simple but moving story, meticulously researched and hauntingly told."

Review quote:

"Debut author Hannah Kent has crafted a gorgeous, literary novel that peppers in just the right amount of suspense. I loved this story not just because of its intricate character studies, but for its evocation of a cold and formidable landscape that is just as stark as the people who inhabit it. This compelling, ripped-from-real-life tale reminds me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace with a dash of Lizzie Borden thrown in. BURIAL RITES is the sort of novel that stays in your head long after you've finished reading the last words."

Review quote:

"Deeply emotional [and] gripping.... A cross between the grim, moorish atmosphere of Wuthering Heights and the cold, religiously-infested repression of a Bergman film, Kent's novel emerges alive, triumphant and sublimely poetic."

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"Delves deep into Scandinavian history, not to mention matters of storytelling, guilt, and silence.... Kent smoothly incorporates her impressive research...while giving life to these historical figures and suspense to their tales."

Review quote:

"Hannah Kent's BURIAL RITES shows how a seemingly simple tale-a murder, a family, a remote landscape-can prove mythic in scale in the right hands. Spell-binding and moving, it's the kind of novel that gets under your skin, moves your blood, your heart. A bravura debut."

Review quote:

"Hannah Kent's gorgeous and haunting BURIAL RITES will touch your heart."

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"Here is an original new voice, with a deep and lovely grasp of language and story. Hannah Kent's first novel, BURIAL RITES, is an accomplished gem, its prose as crisp and sparkling as its northern setting."

Review quote:

"If you read nothing else this fall, read BURIAL RITES: The pages turn themselves."

Review quote:

"In the company of wor"So gripping I wanted to rush through the pages, but so beautifully written I wanted to linger over every sentence. Hannah Kent's debut novel is outstanding."

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