The Bird Tribunal

Agnes Ravatn, trans. from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger. Orenda (IPG, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-910633-35-9
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. Agent: Eirin Hagen, Hagen Agency (Norway). (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2016
Release date: 01/01/2017
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