From the PR: “Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… 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…”
When I think of short books there’s many a favourite read that springs to mind – Pereira Maintains, Mother Night, Of Mice And Men… These are novels that manage to deliver a cracker of a plot, great characterisation and plenty of punch without ever feeling rushed. There’s not a wasted full stop. And now I’m going to add The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn to that list.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but I’d been eagerly anticipating this book since its cover was revealed back in April – there’s something mesmerising about that boat, empty and adrift on the fjord that’s not only intriguing but most certainly helps set the tone – after all, we all know what lurks beneath such still waters.
I wasn’t disappointed – I hungrily devoured this book in two sittings. It’s an intensely captivating read. The Bird Tribunal is an intense, beautifully written book which pulls you in with its chilling atmosphere, weighted with an undertone of menace and barely-concealed dread as the initial calm and tranquillity is soon consumed by the darkness in the shadows, leaving you absolutely gripped as it builds to its thrilling conclusion.
The pacing is superb, the characters and their motivation captivating, the plot gripping and original and the atmosphere – making full use of the stark, imposing nature of its remote Norwegian setting – is chillingly beautiful and spell-binding.
If there were stars at the bottom of these reviews this one is an easy five.
Thanks again to Karen at Orenda for sending this to me and do check out the other stops on the The Bird Tribunal blogtour: