The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

May 16, 2017 | No comments


In brief: Former TV presenter Allis starts working as a housekeeper and gardener for a mysterious man whose wife’s whereabouts are very unclear.

Setting: A remote fjord in Norway.

The good: This is a beautifully written story about the complicated relationship between two very complex characters, who both have a lot of secrets. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what the best things about this book are, but I couldn’t put it down and a month after finishing it, I’m still thinking about it.

The not-so-good: If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be ‘confusing’. The story is almost exclusively presented through the interactions and dialogue (or lack of dialogue) between the two main characters, and I’m not sure if I hate or love them. The plot is slow moving, almost borderline boring, while at the same time the pages are bursting at the seems with with little details and a mystery with so many levels that I repeatedly had to go back and reread sections of previous chapters.

Why I read it: Shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award.

My rating: ★★★ (but should maybe be ★★★★★)

Conclusion: I’m still not sure if this book is absolutely brilliant or just weird and boring. Everyone should read it so we can figure it out together.

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