Book Review: The Bird Tribunal (Agnes Ravatn)

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Allis accepts a job posting as a housekeeper in a remote area to escape her current life…and her own personal demons. Upon her arrival, she meets her new employer, silent and brute, Sigurd Bagge (whose wife is away traveling). She finds herself feeling uneasy around him, but that slowly turns to attraction. As Allis learns more and more about his past, and the relationship between them develops, it becomes clear that the atonement for past sins may not be enough…

Whoa.  What a strange and memorizing book. The Bird Tribunal, by Agnes Ravatn, is a psychological suspense novel meets obsessive love story.  This narrative is completely out of the ordinary. It is nowhere near your typical type of fast-paced thriller. In fact, for a majority of the novel, it is impossible to pin down exactly what is going on at all or if there is anything truly happening.  All I know is that I felt continuously uneasy.  Ravatn creates a slow building dance between two lost people. Words used to describe this novel include “haunting”, “consuming” and “powerful”. I’d have to say that I agree with all three.   I loved this book.

Initially, we meet Allis who seems to be running away from something.  She finds an advertisement for employment working with an elderly couple as their housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds out the couple is not as elderly as she was led to believe and that the wife is actually away traveling.   Allis is, at first, not comfortable with this but slowly the pair builds a relationship. A quirky, uncomfortable, no-good-can-come-from-this relationship.   Each person appears to be keeping secrets from each other. Neither is willing to discuss their pasts.   I do not want to say much more in fear of spoilers but I do want to say that I found myself flipping through the pages frantically, waiting for revelations.  And when those revelations came? I gasped.

Between the narrative style (the plot is basically driven by conversations between Allis and Sigurd Bagge), the descriptive language and the bird imagery, this book may be one of the smartest books I have read in a long time. It read like a classic piece of literature that you’d study in an English Literature class. There are so many layers and moving pieces to this plot. You will not want to stop reading.

If you want to read a book that is dark and unsettling, I think you have found it with The Bird Tribunal. This one will stay with you long after you have finished reading.  Add this one to your Christmas wishlists!

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Publishing and the author; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bird Tribunal (Agnes Ravatn)

  1. Thanks for sharing this really nice review. I love dark books and I keep hearing (reading) of this book more and more from bloggers, which makes me want to read it ASAP…but it’s on my TBR list now so I’ll definitely give it a go soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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