When a disgraced TV presenter takes up the role of housekeeper on an isolated Norwegian fjord, she develops a chilling, obsessive relationship with her employer … an award-winning, simply stunning debut psychological thriller from one of Norway’s finest writers.
***As heard on BBC Books at Bedtime***
***WINNER of the English PEN Translation Award***
***Shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award***
***Shortlisted for the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year***
‘An unrelenting atmosphere of doom fails to prepare readers for the surprising resolution’ Publishers Weekly
‘Unfolds in an austere style that perfectly captures the bleakly beautiful landscape of Norway’s far north’ Irish Times
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…
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.
‘Reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith – and I can’t offer higher praise than that – Agnes Ravatn is an author to watch’ Philip Ardagh
‘A tense and riveting read’ Financial Times
‘Crackling, fraught and hugely compulsive slice of Nordic Noir … tremendously impressive’ Big Issue
‘Beautifully done … dark, psychologically tense and packed full of emotion both overt or deliberately disguised’ Raven Crime Reads
‘Ravatn creates a creeping sense of unease, elegantly bringing the peace and menace of the setting to vivid life. The isolated house on the fjord is a character-like shadow in this tale of obsessions. This is domestic suspense with a twist – creepy and wonderful’ New Books Magazine
‘The Bird Tribunal offers an incredible richness of themes … The atonement for the past sins and the titular bird tribunal carry powerful messages, as well as questions of morality and humanity…' Crime Review
'The Bird Tribunal is suffused with dark imagery from the ancient Eddas, creating a foreboding atmosphere that gets under the skin and stays there. Like a lunar eclipse, each revelation is another form of darkness’ Crime Fiction Lover
‘Chilling, atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful … I was transfixed’ Amanda Jennings
‘Intriguing … enrapturing’ Sarah Hilary
‘A masterclass in suspense and delayed terror, reading it felt like I was driving at top speed towards a cliff edge - and not once did I want to take my foot off the pedal’ Rod Reynolds
‘A beautifully written story set in a captivating landscape … it keeps you turning the pages’ Sarah Ward
Driven by scandal, TV personality Allis Hagtorn, the narrator of this intense psychological thriller from Ravatn (Week 53), leaves her home, job, and partner to become a caretaker in a remote part of Norway by a fjord. Sigurd Bagge, her new employer, tells Allis that he'll need someone at least through spring and summer to cook and to tend to a neglected garden, the domain of his wife, who's away. He also warns her that he'll be spending most of his time in his workroom. In the nearby town, where she rarely ventures, she meets a surly shopkeeper, whose veiled hints and barbed comments disturb her. In fits and starts, Allis and the taciturn Sigurd grow closer, fueled in part by her relating the Norse legend of Balder and by his recounting a nightmare in which a bird tribunal declares him guilty of evil deeds. An unrelenting atmosphere of doom fails to prepare readers for the surprising resolution that engulfs this flawed pair.