The Bird Tribunal
TV-presenter Allis Nordavatn leaves her husband and job in the capital, following a public sex scandal. She goes into voluntary exile, with a single purpose in mind: to build herself up again as a person and professional, in order to return to her old life. A job as a housekeeper and gardener for a man who lives in a house well off the beaten track gives her the opportunity to retreat, and she looks forward to days filled with gardening, cooking and her own writing. But her employer is not an old man in need of help and care, as expected. It is Sigurd Bagge, a forty-year-old who wants her to look after his house and garden until his wife returns from her travels. He wants her to serve him three meals a day, look after the garden and apart from that, leave him in peace. Within this tiny world, the insistance that there should be no contact between them becomes unnatural and strained. Bagge often forgets his own instructions, and they sit up drinking wine and talking through the night. The following morning he then re-establishes the formal arrangement. Allis loses sight of her personal project, her fascination for Sigurd Bagge takes over, and as the two gradually become closer, the question arises: who is Sigurd Bagge and what does he want from Allis?
The Bird Tribunal begins as a gentle story and builds into a consuming drama about life and death.
Awarded a 2016 PEN Translates award, The P2 Listeners Novel Prize 2014, The Norwegian Youth’s Critic’s Award 2013 and the Norwegian Bookblogger Award 2013. Shortlisted: 2017 Petrona Award.
‘Agnes Ravatn’s language is precise and beautiful … The ending quite literally has you gripped in its claws.’Dagbladet
‘… towards the end, you start to recognise the outlines of a great novel, you see how Ravatn has built up the story in a way that allows it culminate in a dramatic fashion. And while doing this, she manages to say something about shame, desire and atonement that feels genuinely new.’Dagens Næringsliv