What to Read
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This was the Library Book Group choice for August. First impressions were that it looked alright and as I am not one to read the blurb on the back of books, I sat down at the end of the day to begin reading. However, I woke the following morning to find I hadn’t finished the first chapter before falling asleep. This went on for several days and was about to give up when I decided to sit down through the day and read a larger chunk of the book. About halfway through the book the words and the story began to pull me in and the characters began to feel real and likable.
The book is set in Iceland in the 1820’s. The weather is bleak and the way of life is too. The protagonist, Agnes Magnusdottir or the daughter of Magnus, along with Frederic and a young woman servant, Sigga, are accused of the murder of Natan Kettilson and his friend at an isolated farm they were working at. Agnes is sentenced to death, but instead of her being kept prison she is sent to live with a family. She requests the help of a young Priest, who at first comes reluctantly to her, but in the end he promises her that he will be with her till the end and he is.
The word I would use to describe this book is bleak. Iceland is bleak. The weather is bleak. The life-style is bleak. Agnes’ life is bleak from the beginning to the end. She does find some comfort from the family she spends her last days with and Totty, the Priest.
I kept hoping for a different ending, but the ending is as you would expect it to be in the beginning. In the end Agnes tells the story of what happened to the Margret, the mother of the family she is staying with. The book is loosely based upon what actually happened or supposed to have happened to Agnes Magnusdottir who lived and died in the 1820’s, Iceland.
Hard to get into, but a good ending.
What to read Next