I realize that some of you may have found Burial Rites difficult to get through. I didn’t promise a “happy” read. I was hoping to offer you a book that would take you on a journey to an unknown place and time and get you to pick up a book that might have fallen through the literary cracks. In an earlier post I told you that I was having a great deal of difficulty choosing the inaugural book for JPL’s Book-In-A-Blog. Before finishing Burial Rites I just knew that this was the “one.” How? Well, like you I knew from reading the book jacket how the novel would end. It is the story of the last woman executed in Iceland after all. I knew what Agnes’ fate was, and yet when I got to that final chapter a part of me held out hope for her. I had grown to like her, feel for her, root for her much as Margret did. I saw Agnes as a woman who had been treated terribly and had loved Natan (even if he truly didn’t deserve her love.) So as Margret, Steina and Lauga sobbed so did I. Even now as I re-read to refresh my memory I find tears fighting behind my eyes daring me to read on.Margret is reaching out to me and she takes my hand in hers, clasps my fingers so tightly that it hurts, it hurts. “You are not a monster,” she says. Her face is flushed and she bites her lip, she bites down. Her fingers, entwined with my own, are hot and greasy. “They’re going to kill me.” Who said that? Did I say that? “We’ll remember you, Agnes.” she presses my fingers more tightly, until I almost cry out from he pain, and then I am crying. I don’t want to be remembered, I want to be here! “Margret!” “I am right here, Agnes. You’ll be all right, my girl. My girl.”
What did you think of the book? Did you connect with the characters? You know how I feel about the book – now it’s your turn. Let me have it I’m tough I can take it!
Hannah Kent has done an admirable job of researching the events and people involved, but this is a work of fiction. She admits to have taken some liberties with the story as there are no accounts of what transpired while Agnes was living with the family. We don’t know what was said, or what their relationships were. Do you enjoy reading fictionalized accounts of real events? Did the story seem plausible to you?Agnes was executed January, 12, 1830. Her remains buried along with Fridrik in an unmarked grave. Later, their remains were moved and the headstone place.
I do hope you enjoyed reading Burial Rites along with me. Please feel free to comment, tweet, or “friend” JPL’s Book-In-A-Blog on Facebook. Let me know what you thought of the book, and what you might like to read with me in the future.