Book Title: The Bird Tribunal
Author: Agnes Ravatn
Translator: Rosie Hedger
Genres: Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Scandanavian
Date Read: 10/26/16
Pub Date: 07/30/16
TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in 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.
Guess who is finally out of her reading slump? THIS GIRL! It has been so long since I’ve read a 5 star book that I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with me. (The one I posted earlier was read weeks ago so it doesn’t count!) When Karen at Orenda books said she was sending me some winners in the mail all the way from the UK, I knew they would be enjoyable based on my fellow bloggers reviews; I just didn’t know they would be all around stunning, absorbing, and gripping. I cannot express how deeply I fell in love with this little book; while it came in at 185 pages it packed a huge wallop. I was completely taken from page 1, and if hadn’t come down with a nasty cold which made me loopy in the head and sleepy, I would have finished it in a single sitting. It’s THAT good.
Clearly by the description you know off the bat that this is psychological suspense, but what you don’t know is that it’s a twisted and addictive love story. I kept thinking to myself “If it’s wrong for me to be cheering on the collaboration of these two oddballs then I DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT”. That’s right, I’m completely warped and was sucked into this cat and mouse game of what the heck is going on. From the very beginning you are on this train headed for disaster, and while knowing that, you can’t jump off and save yourself. It’s really hard to pin down a single genre to categorize this tale in; while it definitely is a psychological suspense, it was simultaneously dark and light. It was disturbing, yet endearing; I’ve never read a book that has posed such a conundrum in trying to describe it, so I’ll just let it fly free and not try to nail it down to any one category. (See what I did there?)
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, as I despise Gone Girl comparisons, but if you liked the feeling that book gave you, I think you’ll like this even more. The plot is completely different, but I experienced that same mind-warped feeling after reading both books. Don’t let the length fool you; this was well done and didn’t lack in any aspects or details. Plus, the cover is gorgeous! I would highly recommend this to all fans of psychological/domestic suspense; those who like their dark and creepy with little to no gore will especially like this one as the author uses other writing tactics to give you the heebie jeebies. Buy it, buy it, BUY IT! I hope more translations of upcoming work from this author are in the works, because I’ll pick up whatever she writes next without even checking the book jacket. Again, THAT good.
*Multitude of thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy; you delivered and I trust your every recommendation from now on!