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Burial Rites

By: Hannah Kent
Narrated by: Morven Christie
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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the 2014 Indie Awards

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed her spiritual guardian, will listen to Agnes’s side of the story. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family’s attitude to Agnes starts to change - until one winter night, she begins her whispered confession to them, and they realise that all is not as they had assumed.

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving book about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, in which every day is a battle for survival.

©2013 Hannah Kent (P)2013 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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." (Geraldine Brooks)

What listeners say about Burial Rites

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    5 out of 5 stars

I hadn’t expected this

I was told by a friend who’s a professional reviewer that this was one of her favourite books. But I was disarmed by everything from the moment I started listening. This is not a happy book. The content holds you too close to the story - the true story - of yet another woman who’s destiny is controlled and predestined by a culture of cruelty. The writing is so exquisite and the performance of the narrator so utterly perfect that I found myself all too often not breathing. The intimacy of Burial Rites is hypnotic and addictive and I pushed life’s needs and chores to one side to keep the connection for as long as possible. I believe this is one of the most powerful and beautiful books I’ve ever read.

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16 people found this helpful

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  • ej
  • 07-03-2014

Absorbing .fascinating and superbly narrated.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended it to my book club and to many friends. I was entirely absorbed by the. Story and could feel the icy wilderness creeping into my bones and the sadness and cruelty touching my heart. Brilliantly narrated. One of my best books ever

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10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book!

A great narration and well presented story of Agnes. Recommend highly. I found the Iceland history fascinating
Thanks heaps
audible !!

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7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Well researched and very believable

The ending was no surprise as a documentary was what sparked my interest in this novel and they gave away the ending. Even so, the book was not ruined by this. In fact it made it more intriguing. Well written and researched. Very believable characters and plot. Even though this fiction was drawn from factual accounts of the time it was definitely not presented in a lecturing academic way - a most challenging read that takes you to the time and place in which it was set in a very real way. Cudos to the Author.
Audio/narration was exceptional too.

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6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Academic and bland.

Relentlessly boring, burdened by endless imagery and the absence of narrative depth. I understand the complexity in carving out this story, I just did not enjoy the anamorphic narration, relentless descriptions of emotion and the overt dealings with misogyny and misguided religion. Others will love it. I did not.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Cold comfort

This is a wonderful book and engaging storytelling although it was numbingly cold at times and almost unbearably grim. But I warmed to the characters and the desolate landscape. A very impressive first novel which is beautifully narrated.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly recommended!!

Really recommend this book! One of the best I have read in the last year! A very gripping story that kept you guessing right till the last few chapters, and the rest of the way through was saw some beautiful relationships form as well as being filled to the brim with such detailed and fitting metaphors and descriptive language (defiantly recommend listening to this book as opposed to reading it, you get so much more out of it!!). Morven Christie is excellent at narrating it.
Kent has done a marvellous job in writing this book - a debut to be most proud of!

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Don't let this book pass you by!

Would you consider the audio edition of Burial Rites to be better than the print version?

The Audio version of this book was wonderful for the expert pronouncation made the book have continuity.

What other book might you compare Burial Rites to, and why?

Although this is not really a 'comparrison' the only other book I have read to have enjoyed as much was 'The Narrow Road To The Deep North"

Have you listened to any of Morven Christie’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I have not listened to other performances by Morven, but she did an adequate job.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All the beautiful prose made me actually feel like I was in the room with the characters and feeling the cold like described.

Any additional comments?

Exceptional book, thoroughly recommend it.

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3 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Loved listening to this book, I think if I had read it I would have been distracted by the unusual names and spellings, the performance was superb and I would listen again.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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"Well researched, written & narrated"

Hannah's research into the history showed how tough life was in Iceland in the 1830's. Fact & fiction intertwining with this audiobook is a brilliant read.

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1 person found this helpful

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