The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn – *Blog Tour Review*


The Bird Tribunal was published by Orenda Books on 30 July 2016 and is available here

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough.

Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless

My thoughts

The Bird Tribunal is a claustrophobic two person psychological drama from Norwegian writer, Agnes Ravatn. It has been translated into English.

We get to know Allis and Sigurd. Allis is a woman, who has ran away from a scandal and is content to live in a fairly isolated region of Norway. She is employed as a gardener and housekeeper, in spite of having little in the way of green fingers. Sigurd is her boss, a moody silent man. Over the course of the book, we get a kind of romantic relationship evolving between the two of them. They are both rather odd and not very open. There is a slow anticipation and an overwhelming and inevitable feeling of conflict.

The Bird Tribunal forces you into the very small world of two extremely strange main characters. It is undoubtedly very compelling. Everything happens in one location, the home of Sigurd, with two characters and a heavy and disturbing sense of claustrophobia. These two are extremely bad at communicating and sizzle with uneasy tension at each other, from the outset. While I rather enjoyed the slow everyday location, I found Allis and Sigurd just plain odd and an unlikely romantic couple. Allis was very clingy with Sigurd, desperate for male attention and behaving more like a child than a grown woman. Sigurd had very little in the way of interesting redeeming features, disappearing for hours on end and being grumpy. Why on earth did these two get into a relationship with each other? I couldn’t see that they had much in common at all. They both made assumptions about each other and filled in the gaps, with their longings. They are one catastrophe waiting to happen.

This is one strange and unsettling novel. I do like a bit of Scandinavian Noir crime. Ravatn mixes horror with the mundane beautifully, with two of the strangest characters. One to get your hands on and to puzzle over!

Find out more about the author

The Bird Tribunal is available at Amazon to buy here

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About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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