Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This book had me from the first sentence.
“They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine.” – Agnes (Burial Rites)
Oh God, I have no other words for the writing here other than beautiful.
Just absolutely beautifully written.
It was poignant and charming, and terrifying and vivid. It was a thousand emotions all at once. And yet, it all hung on just one premise: impending death.
This is the kind of book that you cannot stop thinking about once you put it down. I’ve been obsessively turning over the events in my head, imagining what I would have been like in Agnes’ position, how it would have felt to have lived in that time, how it would feel to know that you will die, and not just by any death, but by having your head severed.
What struck me the most is that despite the harsh circumstances that Agnes was born into, and the incredibly sad existence she led through most of the book, she still clings on to life. She still wants to live!
“I don’t want to be remembered, I want to be here!” – Agnes (Burial Rites)
I loved the priest Agnes chose, Toti and I loved Margaret, the wife of the house she stayed in before her death. I was so grateful to these fictional character for the gentle way they treated Agnes. I loved Toti’s courage to stand up to the District Commissioner and forfeit the traditional Christian ‘fire and brimstone’ teachings of hell in favour of love and compassion. I loved how he was with her until the very end, even when it meant risking his own life.
“I have come upon the conviction that it is not the stern voice of a priest delivering the threat of brimstone, but the gentle and inquiring tones of a friend that will best draw back the curtain to her soul, District Commissioner.” – Toti (Burial Rites)
I loved how the story was written from many character’s points of view, but how Agnes’ point of view was the only one in first person. This was such a beautiful touch to the story and made Agnes more real than anyone else.
There is just so much that I loved that I could fill pages and pages. I hope that you will pick it up and find out for yourself.
If you have read Burial Rites I would LOVE to know what you think!
And please tell me if there are any similar books you recommend?