Publication Date: Available Now from Orenda
Source: Review Copy
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.
The Bird Tribunal is a beautifully (BEAUTIFULLY) written piece of book art, atmospheric, with an eye for scene setting that I havent seen done so well in forever. It sucks you in. Then spits you out.
A very intense book on many levels, admittedly I did not get on at all well with the people – an incredibly focused character study of two separate personalities that come together and create a vortex of obsession. It is a short yet still slow burning story that builds the tension with gorgeous expressive language and an underlying sense of fear.
I can’t say I loved it because that would be a lie – I wanted to kill both Aggis and Sigurd very early on – I guess that shows that Agnes Ratavn evokes an impressive emotional response, ultimately I thought the pair of them deserved each other. What I DID love was the way the author created that feeling, that need to glare at the book and hope everyone died soon yet still dive back in to find out what the ultimate resolution would be. And that paid off in style.
The sense of place and being out of time was the thing in The Bird Tribunal that made it for me. As always with this publisher the writing is the thing – Orenda finds those gems and bring them to us, the readers – The Bird Tribunal is a case in point. I didn’t love it but I couldnt stop reading it. And I’m not going to forget it..
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