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The Bird Tribunal

Published Date: 10th February 2016

Available in

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EBook
9781910633366
£5.99
30th June 2016
Paperback
9781910633359
£8.99
30th September 2016
Audiobook
B01LZ0LRIQ
£14.99
18th October 2016

Description

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.

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‘Chilling, atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful … I was transfixed’ Amanda Jennings

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Winner of the PEN Translates Award

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‘One of the most compelling and unusual stories I’ve ever read … it sucks you in until you are desperate to know what’s going to happen’ Louise Voss

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‘Intriguing … enrapturing’ Sarah Hilary

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‘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

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‘A beautifully written story set in a captivating landscape that keeps you turning the pages’ Sarah Ward

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‘I’m a big fan of ScandiNoir anyway, but I think THE BIRD TRIBUNAL may just be my favourite offering yet. With shades of Du Murier’s REBECCA and Flynn’s SHARP OBJECTS, this is a story that is almost fevered and dream-like, sucking you into dysfunctional POVs and morbid fantasy, that’s unrelentingly visual.’ Lucy Hay

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‘The Bird Tribunal is a chilly psychological thriller / domestic noir that unfolds in an austere style that perfectly captures the bleakly beautiful landscape of Norway’s far north. Allis makes for a fascinating narrator, “like a protagonist from a Knut Hamsun novel, a strange outsider making life peculiar for everyone,” and while the story has echoes of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Ravatn also blends in elements from Norse mythology and gothic fairytales as the unsettling narrative drives propulsively forward to its chilling conclusion.’ The Irish Times

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‘An unrelenting atmosphere of doom fails to prepare readers for the surprising resolution that engulfs this flawed pair.’ Publishers Weekly

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‘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’. The Bird Tribunal was recommended in the Good Reading magazine

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‘Even if you think you’ve solved the core mystery, Allis’ fear and fascination will keep you turning the pages until the dramatic, harrowing end. Ravatn’s masterful prose and Rosie Hedger’s careful and clear translation makes for absolutely captivating reading. 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

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Agnes took part in an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row

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‘The novel is gorgeous. Think ‘Rebecca’ & ‘Jane Eyre’ in a timeless setting w/ Norse mythology. Beautifully written & pubbed by Orenda Books.’ Vicky Newham

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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 … I am always in awe of translators’ skills and craftsmanship, and their ability to travel between languages. Rosie Hedger is already a winner of English PEN’s Award for her exquisite work in bringing this evocative, chilling and beautiful psychological thriller to the English-speaking world.’ Crime Review

Author

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation Self-Discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works Ravatn shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), 2013, is a strange and captivating story about shame, guilt and atonement. Ravatn received The cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.

Translator

Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated with a first class degree with distinction in Norwegian. As part of her undergraduate studies, Rosie spent a year at the University of Oslo, taking courses in Norwegian language and literature and researching for her dissertation on the representations of masculinity in Norwegian contemporary literature. Since then Rosie has lived and worked in Sweden and Denmark, and is now based in the UK. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for emerging translators in 2012, where she was mentored by Don Bartlett.

Online Reviews

‘The Bird Tribunal is an eerie Norwegian psychological thriller with claustrophobic unease that seeps out of every page. It’s beautifully written and exceptionally translated – it’s clear that every sentence has been carefully constructed as the words flow seamlessly …. I was hooked from the first page right through to the end … I read most of the book in one sitting, unable to tear myself away from the powerful emotional pull of the haunting prose. I was aware of my heart pounding, actually holding my breath in places, and an unsettling tingling sensation on my skin. The story builds to a final dramatic ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about afterwards. I was speechless – this book isn’t one I’ll forget. Yet again Orenda Books has chosen a stunner. Wow. I can easily imagine this as a television adaption – a chilling drama that leaves you breathless. This book will go far!’ Off the Shelf Books

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The Bird Tribunal is one of the most unsettling books I’ve read in a long time … menacing, chilling and threatening in equal measure. Every turn of the page brings the reader closer to the unexpectedly gripping finale and it will leave you breathless as you will not see it coming. I cannot recommend The Bird Tribunal highly enough. Disturbing, cold and completely unnerving, I could not put it down. All the stars. Exceptional!’  Bibliophile Book Club

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‘Agnes Ravatn hasn’t used quotation marks, this creates an intimacy with the words, yet they somehow echo with desolate intensity. Gradually, slowly and almost silently, information is revealed, which kept me on the edge of my seat. ‘The Bird Tribunal’ unsettles, agitates and unnerves before a fierce concentrated rush of drama filled pages… and yet at the end, I detected a whisper of uncertainty floating in my mind, which actually left me feeling very satisfied indeed with this enthralling read.’ Love Reading

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‘The Bird Tribunal is an astonishing achievement, both an exhilarating literary psychological thriller and a profound portrait of the obsessive love affair between two damaged souls seeking redemption. The atmospheric location on a remote Norwegian fjord compliments this breathtaking story of a interdependent relationship with limited external influences wonderfully. Beautifully translated into English by Rosie Hedger, her appreciation for the text allows the story to flow seamlessly and allows the mesmerising appeal of seclusion of the Norwegian fjord to draw the plaudits. Simply exquisite, I look forward to hearing more from Agnes Ravatn.’ Rachel Hall, Goodreads

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‘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.’ Postcard Reviews

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‘This is a short novel, less than 200 pages but it fits a lot into its small form. This is a tale of obsession, of madness and of the way the past has of coming back to haunt us. A challenging book but one I am pleased I read.’

From First Page To Last

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‘In the increasingly overcrowded Nordic Noir stakes, something unusual is required for a new entry to rise above the familiar – and that is precisely what new name Ravatn provides with this intelligent and allusive piece. Allis Hagtorn is a television presenter who abandons both career and partner to immerse herself in the solitude of a house in an isolated fjord. Her new employer is not the elderly man she was anticipating, but a man in his forties awaiting the return of his wife. What transpires between the duo is both surprising and deeply unsettling. The book is a lean 185 pages but doesn’t waste a word in its steady accruing of psychological intensity.’ Crime Time

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‘For much of the novel nothing appears to happen but it is all written in preparation for the finale when the truth is finally revealed in a shocking but poetic way. A slightly different novel for me, it is a slow building novel but being short it works well. Therefore, it is another book published by Orenda that I would not  hesitate to recommend.’ Steph’s Book Blog

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‘This is a haunting melody of a novel. Strangely compelling, yet deeply unusual in style and substance. This is a new stule of Nordic Noir for me – quite an eerie read that left me thinking a great deal about the novel I’d just been immersed into. It felt like a dip in an icy fjord. I stood at the edge of the book and dipped in my toes for a little while before fully immersing myself into it – but what a reward! –   and a shock in more ways than one but I want to go back in and do it all again.’ The Book Trail

 

Guest Post on The Quiet Knitter as part of The Bird Tribunal’s blog tour. The Quiet Knitter

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‘This is a thriller of psychology, not action, its builds slowly and surrounds you. At times it feels run of the mill but even as you think nothing is happening you feel unsettled, convinced that you could scratch the veneer off their relationship with even bitten back nails.’ Live Many Lives

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‘The tension in this book builds perfectly and even the lack of speech marks used makes the reader pause and read again to try and make sense about what is going on.  The ending is exactly pitched to make the reader question what has actually happened and my mind is still trying to work out the unanswered questions and that sense of unease is a perfect reflection of this darkly, delicious tale of obsession and mistakes. If you are after an unsettling and yet fascinating read, I can highly recommend this darkly, delicious tale and I am eager to read more of the author’s work.’ Shaz’s Book Blog

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There is a foreboding sense of danger throughout this book. You just know that whatever secrets these two are hiding it is going to have a major impact. It felt like Christmas Eve when you are wishing for time to pass quickly for the big day to arrive. I was dying to know what they were hiding and how it was all going to end and it certainly got the adrenaline flowing. This is without a doubt a dark and sinister read. It is shrouded with mystery and suspense and had me well and truly gripped. A highly enjoyable read. By The Letter Book Reviews

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The Bird Tribunal is beautifully written. Yet it is tense, chilling and at times disconcerting. Think Misery (different tension and no axes) but two people living in a remote location with a strained/artificial/complicated relationship. A special mention has to be made for Rosie Hedger who has done a wonderful job of ensuring the translation of the author’s original text reflects the haunting atmosphere of the remote isolation that Allis has sought.’ Grab This Book

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‘The Bird Tribunal is a gently paced story, developing the characters and the location with ease. The writing is haunting, it is melodic and I was completely transfixed, hating the times that I had to put the book aside, and desperately wanting to get back to it as soon as possible. I have no doubt at all that The Bird Tribunal will feature in my Top Books of 2016. The characters still lurk in my head. The writing is absolutely sublime. Quite simply excellent.’ Random Things Through My Letter Box

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‘I found this a gripping read.  I had a strong feeling of impending doom from early on which stayed with me and grew stronger as I moved through the book.  It’s certainly an unsettling read and I found it oddly uncomfortable in places (not the subject matter so much as the feeling that I was intruding on the characters most private moments). That certainly didn’t put me off though!  It’s a fairly quick read and so easy to devour in the space of a few hours.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!’ Damp Pebbles

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‘This is one strange and unsettling novel. I do like a bit of Scandinavian Noir crime. Ravatn mixes horror with the mundane beautifully, with two of the strangest characters. One to get your hands on and to puzzle over!’ Northern Crime

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An Article about the launch of A Bird Tribunal Promoting Crime

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‘When you encounter a book like this with its unique intensity, it does return to your thoughts now and again. That to me is a sign of a good book and The Bird Tribunal more than fits the description. It’s dark, psychologically tense and packed full of emotion both overt and deliberately disguised, with the reader invited to fill the spaces between. Not forgetting the flawless translation by Rosie Hedger too. Highly recommended.’ Raven Crime Reads

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‘The way this book builds up tension, the currents of feeling rippling below the surface, reminded me of two other Scandinavian novels: Therese Bohman’s Drowned and Tove Jansson’s The True Deceiver. This is calm, collected prose, where you need to allow every word to sink in, so precise and exquisite in its English incarnation (and probably in its Norwegian original). Or perhaps it’s poetry…’ Finding Time to Write

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‘The Bird Tribunal offers astute commentary on many topical social issues – it touches upon the expectations woman place on themselves (and other women) to exude perfect femininity, and the impossibility in achieving these arbitrary targets. It looks at notions of shame and vulnerability, and unhealthy relationships between damaged individuals.’ Crime Thriller Girl

‘What I DID love was the way the author created that feeling, that need to glare at the book and hope everyone died soon yet still dive back in to find out what the ultimate resolution would be. And that paid off in style. The sense of place and being out of time was the thing in The Bird Tribunal that made it for me. As always with this publisher the writing is the thing – Orenda finds those gems and bring them to us, the readers – The Bird Tribunal is a case in point. I didn’t love it but I couldnt stop reading it. And I’m not going to forget it.’ Liz Loves Books

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‘The most striking aspect of THE BIRD TRIBUNAL is the haunting atmosphere that Ravatn has created. I read this book in one sitting, and found myself totally transfixed by the hypnotic quality of Ravatn’s writing. Despite the non-traditional plot structure, I never once wondered what the author’s end goal was—I was simply under Ravatn’s spell, following her characters towards what I knew could only be a tragic end. If you’re looking for a non-traditional, richly atmospheric suspense novel, this might just be the perfect choice.’ Crime By The Book

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‘The writing is an unusual style but at the same time it is brilliant, the writing grabs you immediately. It’s not fast paced but steady and that works, steady and progressive, both the writing and the actual story. It starts off fairly normally and then slowly, insidiously it changes, it works its way into you so that you lose track of all time and of everything. At one point, towards the end, I had to remind myself to breathe because I wasn’t sure if I would otherwise.’ Book Lover Worm

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‘The Bird Tribunal is an unexpected masterpiece. It is exquisite. It is beautiful. It is a true psychological thriller. It is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading.’ Emma the Little Book Worm

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‘The setting is used to great effect as are the seasons. Locked rooms in the house are opened, the forest is both a blanket from the world and a threat. Allis is given use of many of Nor’s possessions. Although absent, her presence is felt. I ponder still who was the spider and who the fly. This tale left me chilled, but in the best possible way. The author has taken familiar activities and shrouded them in intrigue. This is a captivating, atmospheric read.’ Never Imitate

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‘With its unusual writing style, I was inclined to use the words intriguing and fascinating a lot in the review and in summary these are the two I would use again, along with unnerving and enthralling.’ The Very Pink Notebook

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‘I was surprised at just how gripped this book had me. The lack of direct action absolutely defines the brilliance of this novel, as the reader is left wondering just what is going on with these two characters. Without a doubt, the ending will leave the reader reeling and feeling thoroughly satisfied, once they have had a little time to absorb it. The sign of a fantastic novel.’ Segnalibro

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‘With taut and haunting prose, and an extremely fascinating plot, The Bird Tribunal is an unforgettable little story with insufferable tension in the lead-up to a shocking end. The pace of the story picks up the further into the book you get and this makes it all the more enthralling, as does the complex, weird and often changeable characters of Sigurd and Allis. The translation is brilliantly done and the book never loses its mysterious feel. I really struggled to put the book down, and I am still thinking about it now it’s over.’ Reviewed the Book

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Agnes does a piece for Shots Mag as part of her Blog Tour.

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‘This is my first Norwegian thriller and another hit for Orenda Books who have found some of the most incredible writers of recent times with more set to come in the future. This is a gripping thriller although short at just under 200 pages you will consume this gem easily in one sitting on a chilly autumn evening.’ Last Word Book Review

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‘The tension and suspense builds up beautifully throughout the book and the final few pages really had me on the edge of my seat wondering what the climax would be. The Bird Tribunal is an excellent, beautifully poetic novel, so well translated by Rosie Hedger that you could easily forget it was originally written in Norwegian. Agnes Ravatn is clearly a talented thriller writer and I loved this book.’ Portobello Book Blog

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‘I can’t believe I’m about to say this, as I despise Gone Girl comparisons, but if you liked the feeling that book gave you, I think you’ll like this even more. The plot is completely different, but I experienced that same mind-warped feeling after reading both books. Don’t let the length fool you; this was well done and didn’t lack in any aspects or details. Plus, the cover is gorgeous! I would highly recommend this to all fans of psychological/domestic suspense; those who like their dark and creepy with little to no gore will especially like this one as the author uses other writing tactics to give you the heebie jeebies.’ The Suspense is Thrilling Me

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‘The Bird Tribunal is heaving with a detached dreamlike quality that edges under your skin and lingers there causing time to stand absolutely still. My only wish would be that there was some way I could unread the pages so I could have the pleasure of devouring them all over again.’ Little Bookness Lane

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‘Was what I read real, or was it all in Allis’s head? Is she a simple victim of an increasingly obsessive relationship with Bagge, or is there more to her character? Is the serenity we see in her at the end an indication of the final detachment from her own emotions, or was she already so broken to begin with and everything we have seen has just been the slow devolution of her sanity? Perhaps you should read it and decide for yourself. A truly stunning, haunting and chilling 5 star read and such a wonderful translation by Rosie Hedger. Seamles.’ Jenna Medlicott

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‘It’s a gripping read. While the book may only be 185 pages long there is enough tension for a story two or three times that length. Every page is its own adventure with absolutely no certainty of what will happen next, and the English translation by Rosie Hedger is a gripping narrative. “Psychological thriller” scarcely does credit to what this book is, or does. Orenda has recently been bringing some excellent Scandi fiction to British shores but this one really takes things to a different – and very dark – place.’ Blue Book Balloon

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‘If a fast-paced, action filled thriller is what you are after then this possibly isn’t what you are looking for however if you are after a sophisicated, cleverly plotted, mysterious pyschological thriller then The Bird Tribunal is definitely for you! A brilliant read which has been fantastically translated by Rosie Hedger.’ Have Books, Will Read

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Agnes does an interview as part of her blog tour. Trip Fiction

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‘There’s nothing quite like a book that grabs you by the throat from beginning to end and throws some pretty unexpected twists and turns into the wood works. The Bird Tribunal is different and one of those books you absolutely need to read! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way it made me feel and the characters have made a lasting impression on me – this is the perfect psychological thriller!’ This Crime Book

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‘I loved The Bird Tribunal and found it to be a compelling, atmospheric thriller set within a dramatic and isolated landscape. It is a story of secrets and truths and how we seek atonement for past actions.’

The Owl on the Bookshelf

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‘The engulfing suspense is reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s writing in Rebecca and The Birds, veering from haunting, poetically-spun folklore into horror territory. Ravatn’s imagery is startling, her prose pared back with Scandinavian precision, combined with clean translation by Rosie Hedger from the original Norwegian. At under 200 pages, this is a book that can be read in one or two breath-taking sittings; despite one seemingly off-the-shelf revelation, there are many more that ambush the reader and the climactic ending is as taut and shocking as it is satisfying.’ Claire Thinking

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‘The pacing is superb, the characters and their motivation captivating, the plot gripping and original and the atmosphere – making full use of the stark, imposing nature of its remote Norwegian setting – is chillingly beautiful and spell-binding. If there were stars at the bottom of these reviews this one is an easy five.’ Mumbling About

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‘This is a story about obsessive power-dominated relationships and how you can never truly know a person. This is not only creepy but an atmospheric story which was just magic. I can only describe it as truly mesmerising – I spent a whole day with this novel but what a day it was and will take a few days to recover from. I just cannot recommend this novel enough.’ Chillers, Killers and Thrillers

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‘I found myself completely drawn into this story, sometimes thinking poor Allis, she’s in over her head with Bagge and then after a few pages thinking poor Bagge, he doesn’t know what’s in store for him if Allis turns out to be completely off her rocker. For me, this is what makes this book a true page-turner –  the inability to decipher who I could trust and the constant sense of below the surface menace that surrounded these characters. You just know something’s bound to go very wrong for one or both of these two! I did wonder if the book would feel complete with only 185 pages but that actually seemed to be the perfect length to tell this story.   If you like to be immersed in an eerie setting where you never quite know who’s telling the truth or what’s going to happen next you’ll want to read this book.’ It’s Book Talk

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‘I loved this story. The crisp, spare writing; the dark and haunting imagery; all make for an utterly compelling read.  The painful exploration of a fragile ego in thrall to an egoist is one which has its own dark fascination but when coupled with the Nordic element feels suffused with the land and its mythological history. Ravatn is clearly a writer of distinction and one to watch – with a brilliant translation by Rosie Hedger. I urge you to read it.’

Live and Deadly

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Agnes does an interview with The Irish Times

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‘Agnes Ravatn did a fabulous job of developing Bagge, a man with secrets, maybe dark secrets. Even as she reveals pieces of him, we are left with more questions. The further I got into this book, the more often I wondered if this man was sane and just odd, or something much more deviant? … Was it a psychological story? Definitely. Was it a psychological thriller? Not really. Is it worth reading? Yes!’ Novel Visits

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‘I don’t recall ever being quite so absorbed by a book before and I believe this is due in part by never being exactly sure where things were heading. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dark, mysterious settings, fascinating characters with secrets and obsessions, and writing that enraptures you and transports you to a chilling and intriguing location.’ Novel Gossip

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‘I’m struggling to find the words to describe how splendidly haunting this book is, words such as ‘transfixed’ and ‘compelling’ come to mind. As the reader, you are so deeply invested in this story, almost like Ravatn has hypnotised you, and your only action is to read on. The Bird Tribunal is a devastatingly beautiful read unlike no other. Ravatn wrote this book with purpose, a psychological thriller that truly captivates you, all building towards an ending that will claim a little piece of your mind for itself – superb and unforgettable.’ Keeper of Pages

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‘It is not a long book but it is  contains an emotional roller coaster ride that may leave the reader feeling quite exhausted by the end.   I will definitely read any other of Ravatn’s books if they are translated. One of the best psychological thrillers I have read for a long time.’ Nordic Noir
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‘This is the second novel by prize-winning Norwegian writer Agnes Ravatn, and it certainly deserves the praise it’s received. The Bird Tribunal fascinates and creates unease in the reader right from the beginning. The pleasure in reading The Bird Tribunal for me came from looking back on it afterwards. There are so many clues to help the reader decide whether Allis really is a reliable narrator. Perhaps only the birds, omnipresent in the forest, know what really happened.’ Nudge Books

 

‘I found the characters slightly strange but found the book a compulsive and un-put-downable read which was tense, chilling and gripping. It has an ending I didn’t see coming and I’m still thinking about the book long after I finished it. Would recommend.’ Beauty Balm

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Raven Crime Reads Book of the Month for October!

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‘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.’ Clues and Reviews

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The Bird Tribunal was selected as a Quiet Knitter top 10 of 2016. The Quiet Knitter

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The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of Carol Lovekin Author’s top books of 2016.

Carol Lovekin Author

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The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of the books of 2016. Love Reading

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The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of the best crime novels of 2016 by a panel of authors on

Dead Good Books

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‘‘The Bird Tribunal’ is an intensely chilling read which packs a real punch in less than 200 pages. It has been billed as a psychological suspense thriller but I think it is very original take on what can sometimes be a cliché-ridden genre.’ A Little Blog of Books

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The Bird Tribunal was selected in the top 20 of the top 100 Crime Time books of 2016. Crime Time

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‘Wow – The Bird Tribunal. This is such a haunting and claustrophobic read! The author did a superb job of making me, as the reader, feel truly creeped out (in a good way). It is only a short novel but man does it pack a punch. By the end of it I was truly lost for words, which doesn’t usually happen to me. The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of the favourite reads of 2016.’ Chillers, Killers and Thrillers

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The Bird Tribunal was selected in the top 10 of Doug Johnstone’s books of 2016. Doug Johnstone

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‘From the moment you turn the first page till you close the back cover, Ravatn slowly cranks up the momentum in this brilliantly written psychological thriller to where the book is positively exuding mystery and sexual tension, something I haven’t found in a Scandi Noir book in a while.’

The Library Door

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‘Words sort of fail me with this book because it’s oozing with tension, mystery and creepiness. With every chapter there’s the teeny tiniest hint that something’s off but you have no idea what it is. There’s romance in it but even that makes your skin crawl somehow. And then you get to the last page and it’s…well, that would be telling. By far the best and shortest crime book of 2016!’ The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of the 5 best reads of 2016. This Crime Book

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The Bird Tribunal was selected as one of the top 5 reads of 2016. Raven Crime Reads

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‘This novel is definitely more about the atmosphere and the psychological suspense than it is about getting answers to all one’s questions. This was one of my first experiences with Norwegian crime fiction and it definitely won’t be my last. This is definitely a must-read for those who want more psychological suspense than criminal procedures in their crime fiction. An absolutely haunting read!’ Pages and Pints

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The Bird Tribunal is recommended on Crime Thriller Girl’s Blog. Crime Thriller Girl

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‘This is an excellent story of domestic suspense. With the two main characters being isolated, both geographically and emotionally, and the setting largely limited to the homestead, the atmosphere is brooding and claustrophobic.  There is not a lot of action, but gradual and enthralling tension-building which is masterfully created from the emotionally charged encounters between the two. The narrative is captivating – from the very first pages, the mood is uncomfortable and tense, but you can’t look away from the train wreck you just know is going to happen. Despite the dark tone, it was still an easy, fun and entertaining book to read!’ Read and Live Well

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‘Agnes Ravatn’s story, translated by Rosie Hedger, builds slowly. We are provided with layer upon layer of unease, but the pace builds until we’re rushing towards a denouement. It’s compelling, it’s electrifying, and it’s the work of an author who knows precisely how to manipulate her readers’ emotions. Empty rooms, rodents and birds are not in themselves terrifying: The Bird Tribunal makes them so. I read this book several weeks ago and my overall memory is of a world that is progressively more terrifying, of a landscape that can be tamed and mastered but of a fjordscape (if that’s a word) of secrets and malevolence. This world is worth a visit.’ Café Thinking

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‘Beautifully written and packed with atmospheric descriptions of the changing seasons on the fjord, this is one for those readers that find the twists and turns of many crime novels confusing. The linear plot of the book is set at the start and does not deviate from its predictable conclusion as the unreliable narrator draws the reader into her world of uncertainty and fear. With a very limited stage and cast, the book is dark and claustrophobic as the reader waits expectantly for the danger to unfold.’ Promoting Crime

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‘When the meaning behind the title and the cover art are divulged, the reader is rendered speechless.  A novel of guilt, atonement, and what the lack of trust can do to a relationship.  A psychological thriller? Yes. A crime thriller? You be the judge. I think “The bird tribunal” will be on my ‘best of 2017’ list.  Highly recommended!’ Fictionophile

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‘Agnes Ravatn does a great job at creating an eerie atmosphere. I also liked how she uses foreshadowing and the way she infuses her story with dream segments and stories of Nordic mythology. The Bird Tribunal is a claustrophobic story, dark and mysterious, and held me captivated until the end.’ Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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‘Agnes Ravatn’s story, translated by Rosie Hedger, builds slowly. We are provided with layer upon layer of unease, but the pace builds until we’re rushing towards a denouement. It’s compelling, it’s electrifying, and it’s the work of an author who knows precisely how to manipulate her readers’ emotions. Empty rooms, rodents and birds are not in themselves terrifying: The Bird Tribunal makes them so.’ Café Thinking

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‘The psychological cat and mouse game is gripping as they clash, repel and attract and questions soon are raised about their previous lives and how past events will affect their future together or apart. Intense, lapidary, dream-like and streaked with anxiety, this is not a comfortable book, with not always likeable obsessive characters, but it proves rewarding as an investigation into the blank darkness of lost souls.’ Maxim Jakubowski 

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‘The tonal changes of the novel are also negotiated well, down to the sly traces of irony that Norwegian readers particularly will be more familiar with from Ravatn’s earlier writing (this is the first of her novels to be translated into English) … Not only because of the birds, there is a Hitchcock feel to this novel: it’s short but packs a punch, delivers well-crafted entertainment driven by human fixations and flaws, with a rather warped and unsettling plot and conclusion. This is Ravatn’s first book in this genre, and as a psychological thriller it certainly does the job. In all, a tense and riveting read!’

European Literature Network

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‘The execution of the finale is very well managed. There are secret revelations leading to further confessions and a succession of half truths which let the reader jump to their own conclusions which then have to be reconsidered as more events unravel in front of us. The pace suddenly picks up as the book draws to its conclusion. Orenda Books seem to have an eye for picking out debut authors who bring something quite special to the market. This is a book for those who love noir fiction, love a story that confuses, challenges and grips them and for those that love a writer who uses language to such effect. There is no doubt about it. This is a 5* read from me!’ Bibliomaniac

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‘Ravatn teases the reader with snippets of information about the two main characters, leaving a lot unsaid. Like Allis, we’re left to wonder. The prose is elegant and beautiful, the setting and tension brought to life with small details and plenty of subtext. There’s an interesting mix of dark and light in this book – in some ways it reads like a charming evocation of a rural setting, but then there’s a constant feeling of unease, like a shadow you just can’t quite catch out of the corner of your eye. Flickering, malingering, malignant. We know something bad has happened, or might happen… but are we just falling victim to the isolation and our own whirring minds, ourselves? Domestic suspense with a twist; creepy and wonderful.’ Kiwi Crime

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‘It was a radio interview with Agnes Ravatn, author of psychological thriller The Bird Tribunal, that converted me to the joy of Norwegian writing. She was sparky and unusual and talked about her frustration with social media and how it had prevented her from writing. The novel, set in a remote forest, is about Allis Hagtorn, who cuts herself off from her previous life, having been publicly disgraced as a popular television presenter.’ I Newspaper

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‘There’s something captivating about THE BIRD TRIBUNAL. Its writing is atmospheric and moody, drawing the reader bit by bit into the all-consuming isolation that wraps itself around the story’s main characters; its characters themselves are a touch quirky and completely fascinating. This short little book packs an emotional punch, brilliantly blending the atmosphere of Norway with a plot that’s almost better suited to the label “domestic thriller” than “Nordic Noir.”’ The Bird Tribunal is selected as the Throwback Thursday book pick on Crime by the Book

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‘The book is a delight for those who love Gothic overtones and references to Nordic mythology. I have seen Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca referenced in relation to it. There is a silence hanging behind the words as Allis works away in the garden and in the house. It keeps you guessing all the way to the end. It is compelling reading and listening for those who love Nordic Noir.’ Books Life and Everything

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‘Sometimes you read something quite extraordinary and you have absolutely no idea how to put your thoughts into words. This, for me, is one of those times. However, I can already tell you now that if you’re looking for something a little different that you won’t forget in a hurry, then you should go and pick up a copy right now … It’s fair to say I’ve never read anything like it but I loved every word on every page.’ Novel Deelights

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  1. Countdown to publication: Rupture Day 8
    Countdown to publication: Rupture Day 8 17th December 2016 at 5:10 pm .

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