#OrendaAudioBookWeek The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn Review & Giveaway

    When I was offered the chance to take part in Orenda Book's Audio Book week, I leapt at the opportunity. Although I bought a copy of The Bird Tribunal some time ago, I hadn't got round to reading it and I have read such great things about it. This was Agnes Ravatn's acclaimed second novel. It was too good to resist. 

Translated by Rosie Hedger, it is a tense thriller, perfectly suited to the audio format. I listened with bated breath. For the chance to win your own audiocopy of the book, just follow the details at the end of this post!

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.

My Thoughts 

It was a great experience listening to this story in audiobook format. Narrated by Penelope Rawlins, her single voice adds to the increasingly claustrophobic atmosphere. In fact, although when reading the text, you tend to read on and on, I found listening to it to be something I had to do in shorter bursts, to break the tension. I'm not sure I liked the different accent for the employer, Sigurd Bagge, but that is a minor quibble. For the most part, the tension built beautifully.   

    To get an impression of how beautifully the isolated scene is evoked, listen to a clip from Chapter One:

Click here 

 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. 


  • Written by: Agnes Ravatn
  • Narrated by: Penelope Rawlins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins 
  • Unabridged Audiobook

  • Release Date:18/10/2016 
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  •  
    About the 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. 
    About the 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.
    Giveaway 
    I'm able to offer an audiobook of The Bird Tribunal for 3 lucky winners. For your chance to win, either leave a comment below or go over to Twitter to Follow and Retweet the pinned tweet on @bookslifethings. (Or for 2 chances, do both!). Let me know what you think of the book! 
    Closing date July 26th 2017.
    Thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books  and Audible for a copy of the audiobook and a chance to take part in the wonderful Orenda Audio Book Week.
    Check out all the other great bloggers taking part!
      

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