Burial Rites is about to find a whole new set of fans as rumour has it Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is set to star in its film adaptation.
Described as a ‘package deal’ by industry insiders, Lawrence will reportedly team up with The Hunger Games director Gary Ross to tell the extraordinary story that has captivated readers this year.
In Burial Rites, debut author Hannah Kent reimagines the life and death of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland.
Sentenced to death for her part in the gory murder of two men, she was beheaded by axe on January 12, 1830, aged 33.
Kent secured an international two-book deal worth more than $1 million, an astonishing achievement for a first-time Australian writer.
by Hannah Kent
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.
Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?
Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about personal freedom: who we are seen to be versus who we believe ourselves to be, and the ways in which we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland’s formidable landscape, where every day is a battle for survival, and asks, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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