Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Reviewed by
May 2013, no. 351
Bronwyn Lea reviews 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

Picador, $32.99 pb, 352 pp, 9781742612829

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Reviewed by
May 2013, no. 351

A novel that can be summarised in a single, captivating sentence is a publisher’s dream. Not that ease of marketing is a reliable measure of excellence. Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927), for instance – which could be described as ‘the story of a mother who dies before taking her son to visit a lighthouse, and later a woman completes a painting’ – achieved classic status despite an unpropitious précis. Woolf’s genius aside, it is difficult to imagine a sentence like that sparking an international bidding war of the kind that erupted last year over Hannah Kent’s first novel. Burial Rites – ‘the story of the last woman to be beheaded in Iceland’ – reportedly netted Kent a considerable advance.

Bronwyn Lea reviews 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

Picador, $32.99 pb, 352 pp, 9781742612829

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