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The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

The Bird Tribunal (2013)

by Agnes Ravatn

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English (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (3)
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Woa...a book that some say is as good as The Collector by John Fowles, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or even dare I breath it Jane Eyre with echoes of Rochester and the fair Jane! Winner of The English Pen Award (promoting new and exciting literature from around the world) and quoted on its front cover as being "chillingly atmosphere and hauntingly beautiful! The Bird Tribunal has won two awards in Norway: the NRK P2 Listener's Novel Prize and the Youth Critic's Award..." a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo" Well this is one reader that thought it was an overpriced piece of balderdash!

It is an effrontery in any way to compare such mediocre prose to such classic authors as Fowles, Bronte and du Maurier. Allis Hagtorn, presenter on Norwegian TV, and it would appear gaining promotion by sleeping her way to the top has decided on a change of direction/career (I can hear her colleagues breathing a sigh of relief) She takes a job as housekeeper to the surly, abrupt moody but hauntingly dashing Sigurd Bagge. It would appear that his wife is not in residence at the moment and even Allis, after a very short time in service can understand why she would want to be free from him..."a neurosis-inducing, hostile husband. It was hardly surprising his wife had made herself scarce." So Allis spends her time preparing meals, tending the garden and acting as a type of agony aunt to the deeply morose, "dark and stocky" with those cute little curls....Mr Bagge (very well named as he seems to come with a lot of access impassioned baggage) Now the beautiful Allis is not without her own emotional impairment and the scene is now set for these two beautiful lost, neglected, misunderstood souls to console each other and maybe (if only for the reader) find within themselves some inner contentment ....(ah reminds me of a demented Catherine running across the moors in search of her one true love Heathcliff...yes lets include Wuthering Heights in the mix)

So after some 250 pages of "will they or wont they" "did they or could they" the dramatic final scene is set for some sensational disclosure. What is the truth behind Allis's sudden departure? Where is the much referred to Mrs Bagge? Did something criminal befall the fair Nor Bagge? All will be revealed dear reader in the final exciting (yawn....zzzzz) paragraphs. This book could have been easily concluded in a paragraph....scarlet woman meets contemplative man, they talk, the truth is revealed...end of story. What an over hyped piece of nonsensical dross still all those 5 stars reviews can't be wrong? you read you decide..................... ( )
  runner56 | Apr 17, 2017 |
The Bird Tribunal – A haunting tale

The Bird Tribunal from Norwegian writer Agnes Ravatn is a stunning introduction to the writer who has delivered a breath-taking book. This may be a short story and a winner of the English Pen award, but it delivers massive punches throughout the book for the reader and with a structured build up completely gets under your skin.

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and career, she is running away from things, and decides to go in to voluntary exile as a housekeeper in a remote house on an isolated fjord. Her job does not just include being the housekeeper and gardener, but she is also taking care of Sigurd Bagge. He is not an old person as she was expecting but a man if 44 years old, who is married, who rarely talks to Allis.

All Allis knows that Sigurd’s wife is away touring and that he is awaiting her return, and then what happens to her she has no idea. But there is something strange and unsettling about Sigurd, she can tell he his keeping a secret but no idea as to what it is. Allis comes across, at first, as very self-centred especially as she is acting as the story narrator.

As Allis gets to grips with her new life looking after Sigurd, strange things to do happen but nothing that will cause concern. At times Allis comes across as maddening as she is not conventional and not easily likable and it is as if Sigurd is the male version of her.

Both know they are keeping secrets from each other, especially as Sigurd has a habit of disappearing, sometimes for hours other times for days. Allis has been told she is not welcome to enter Sigurd bedroom or workroom, and the curiosity drives her crazy. As the story progresses we see a formation of a relationship develop, but there are some serious questions raised as the reader is being psychologically teased throughout.

This is a deeply compelling, and at the same time quite unusual story that will keep you gripped throughout. The reader is not sure what will happen but you are drawn in and Allis is a compelling character and Sigurd comes across as eccentric at best, weird at worst. The story and ending is intriguing as you really do not know how this will end, this is truly Norwegian Noir at its eerie best. It can be unsettling, and the translation bring out the best of the haunting prose. This really is a masterclass of suspense and psychological thriller at its best, that will send chills down your spine. ( )
1 vote atticusfinch1048 | Sep 28, 2016 |
Showing 2 of 2
«Fugletribunalet» er et tett og skummelt kammerspill - et spenningsfullt og erotisk møte mellom en kvinne og en mann. ...
Nyansene i teksten er blitt flere, og det vi kan kanskje kalle undertrykket er blitt større, men uten at Ravatn - takk og lov for det - gir helt slipp på sitt komiske talent.
added by annek49 | editNRK, Knut Hoem (Sep 17, 2013)
Intervju med forfatteren om boken
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Anders Fjellberg (Jul 31, 2013)
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