The Bird Tribunal – Agnes Ravatn
The Last Word Review
The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn a story of a possessive love affair between two people who are thrown together as two people whose own lives are damaged. The book has been excellently translated by Rosie Hedger.
The story is told by Allis Hagtorn in her own words and for Allis who has run away from her own life as a TV presenter and her partner and has sort sanctuary in a remote house close to a fjord. Taking on a job that is very different from the glamorous life as a TV presenter now Allis is a housekeeper and gardener. The owner is something of a strange 44-year-old man called Sigurd Bagge who is surly and at times his mood swings from silent to questioning. Something about Sigurd is not right. Sigurd’s wife is away travelling and he wants help to look after the house and garden. From early on in this psychological thriller something starts to build. This is the ultimate slow burner that you know something is coming but not quite in what form. Meanwhile as the two start to get to know each other something of an obsession starts from Allis towards Sigurd.
The reasons for Allis running away is nothing short of a scandal yet here she is starting something that you know should not be happening to a damaged soul but here is Allis starting an obsession that becomes something more serious as she tells her story. This book will get under your skin as you can feel yourself becoming involved in ‘why are you doing this Allis’ and ‘just why did you run away in the first place’ you just feel yourself saying to the book as you read.
The centre of this story is the home of Sigurd and the never ending feeling of claustrophobia is deeply foreboding, you feel the walls of the story closing around Allis and she tries to get Sigurd to open up and talk to her. Tension is palpable all the way through this thriller to the dramatic closing moments of the story.
I have to admit to being not at all at ease with Allis she seemed to be setting herself up for a trap and sleepwalking into a nightmare scenario. Sigurd is just plain odd a creepy character that you would not want to get too close to. But it seems they were drawn to each other. Possession and obsession. The ultimate car crash was going to happen. I have to commend Rosie Hedger on the translation. Superb.
This is my first Norwegian thriller and another hit for Orenda Books who have found some of the most incredible writers of recent times with more set to come in the future.
This is a gripping thriller although short at just under 200 pages you will consume this gem easily in one sitting on a chilly autumn evening.
The Official Bird Tribunal Blog Tour 2016