Monday 10 October 2016

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn @OrendaBooks #BlogTour

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.

Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn, published in paperback by Orenda Books on 1 September 2016.

Every so often a book comes along that completely blows my mind, this is one of those books. The Bird Tribunal is absolutely exquisite, it left me feeling quite stunned.

This is such a short book at just less than 200 pages, and I've often felt a little let-down by short
novels in the past. Sometimes they can feel unfinished, or rushed .... not this one. Oh no, this is perfectly paced and has been expertly translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger.

Allis Hagtorn and Sigurd Bagge are the lead players; this is their story. The reader knows nothing about either of them as Allis arrives to take up the post of Siguard's housekeeper. His house is isolated, sitting alongside a fjord with no neighbours. Gradually, we learn a little about Allis' past, but it is only her side of the story and it's a patchy history, affected by her guilt and her shame.

Siguard is a complex character, with many different moods. Sometimes surly and defensive, occasionally rude and almost violent, and at other times he's friendly and warm. He is a total mystery, and although Allis is desperate to know what lies behind the locked doors in the house, his coldness also allows her to deal with thoughts about her own life.

The Bird Tribunal is a gently paced story, developing the characters and the location with ease. The writing is haunting, it is melodic and I was completely transfixed, hating the times that I had to put the book aside, and desperately wanting to get back to it as soon as possible.

And then, the last quarter of the book, the last 50 or so pages. The story quickens, as does the reader's heartbeat as the author increases the tension page by page. Realisation of the true story behind Siguard's isolation hits, and the terror begins.

I have no doubt at all that The Bird Tribunal will feature in my Top Books of 2016. The characters still lurk in my head. The writing is absolutely sublime. Quite simply .... excellent.

My thanks to Orenda Books who sent my copy of The Bird Tribunal for review and who invited me to take part in this Blog Tour.

Agnes Ravatn is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary debut with the novel Week 53 in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing, Popular Reading and Operation Self-Discipline. in which she recounts her experience with social media addiction, and how she overcame it.
The Bird Tribunal won the cultural radio P2's listener's prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth's Critic's Prize.
The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.


  1. Brilliant review Anne. Getting to this one soon myself.

  2. Hi Joanne. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks for stopping by!