September 23, 2013

Burial Rites

Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent
published September 2013
publisher Little, Brown and Company
source:  publisher

The day after I returned home from Iceland and other countries,  I received Burial Rites.   Since the story is set in Iceland, I immediately opened this book.

The author, Hannah Kent, is a young Australian woman who traveled to Iceland as a teenage exchange-student.   She tells the true story of Agnes, a real person -- the last person executed in Iceland.

There is no jail in northern Iceland to keep Agnes before her execution, so a family is ordered to have her stay with them.    The wife Margret, says to Agnes, "I have been forced to keep you here and you ... You are forced to be kept. "

Such writing!  Descriptive.  Elegant.   You smell the body stenches,  you shiver in the cold,  you peek into the minds of the characters.   It was difficult at first to get used to the Icelandic names, however once you know the characters, you forget that difficulty.

It is so difficult to know what label to give this book:  biography, fiction, mystery.  It is neither and all.   Therefore, I added a new label:  historical fiction.