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.
Why does a woman leave her job as a TV presenter to up-sticks and move to an isolated house. To cook, clean and garden for a man who is at best the strong silent type and at worse…. well his wife is ‘away on her travels’ and there is hardly any trace in the house that a woman had lived there.
The Bird Tribunal is a wonderfully written and beautifully descriptive novel, the setting, and how Allis tells her story makes this book a joy to read.
While both characters are a bit ‘wet and limpy’, Allis’s attempts to gain Bagges approval seems to go against her contrasting life story of femme fatal. Equally, Bagge himself is arrogant and quite unfeeling.
The underlying tension of the two people is satisfyingly un-nerving and as it builds the struggle of their relationship, whatever that is, really comes to the fore.
Agnes Ravatn has written an exceptional piece of work.
This is a novel that can be taken one of two ways depending on how the reader reads. Did either Aliis or Sigurd expect the relationship to flourish the way it did, or were they both just looking for something that didn’t quite go as planned.