Burial Rites Book club Discussion Questions

Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah Kent is available as a City Libraries Book Club Discussion Kit.

*Please be aware that book discussion questions may contain spoilers*

Burial Rites is a fictional account of the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman executed in Iceland. Agnes is convicted of the murder of her employer and his acquaintance and is sent to live with a farming family pending her execution. The family are fearful and hostile toward her but become closer to her as the story progresses.

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think of the tone of the novel? Did you find yourself immersed in 19th Century Iceland?

2. The novel is based on a true story. Did this effect your reading of it?

3. Did you think Agnes’s position in society affected her ultimate fate?

4. Why do you think the relationship between Agnes and the family changes?

5. What did you think of the historical documents that appeared throughout the novel?

6. How do you think Reverend Tóti changed in response to his interactions with Agnes?

7. Did you feel there was a turning point in the relationship between Margret and Agnes?

8. Would you have considered Agnes guilty or innocent of her crime?

9. What are your thoughts on the execution scene? What do you think the novel says about Capital punishment?

10. What does the novel ultimately say about life and death?

Helpful Links

Goodreads Reviews

Pan MacMillan Reading notes

Author Hannah Kent’s website