The Bird Tribunal

The Bird Tribunal

eBook - 2016
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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...
Publisher: London : Orenda Books, 2016
ISBN: 9781495627774
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Jan 01, 2018

This short book was difficult to put down. The protagonist, Aliss, is quite human; by turns easy to identify with and easy to scorn for her weaknesses. In keeping with the listed description of the book, themes include isolation and atonement but this is also juxtaposed with self-discovery as Aliss, through hard work and research, tames a garden long-fallen into neglect. As the plot advances, the relationship between the characters becomes pathological, but this is deftly done and sneaks up on you just when you think things may be approaching normal. There is foreshadowing, but it leaves you guessing as to how Aliss can emerge unscathed.

Fair warning: Ravatn does not use quotation marks to distinguish what is said aloud from what is merely internal dialog. While unsettling at first, this literary technique makes her spare prose and the story itself seem that much starker. Don’t let this deter you if you enjoy Nordic Noir with a menacing, intricately plotted storyline – it’s quite good – I’m already looking forward to her next offering.

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