The Bird Tribunal

Narrated by: Penelope Rawlins
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 told psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

©2016 Agnes Ravatn (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

AND LONG ROAD TO NOTHING

I waited and waited for something in this book to excite me or at the very least to wake me up. The one good thing was, it was a short read/listen. I can't say it was an awful story it just had no depth or meaning to it and very predictable. The narrator wasn't bad at all I enjoyed other books read by Rawlins. Wish I could rate higher but I rely on honest reviews given by others when making my book selection so I owe them the same.

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Profile Image for Mandie Griffiths
  • Mandie Griffiths
  • 12-27-19

chilling and totally different

As with most of the Orenda catalogue I am way behind on discovering this absolute gem of a book. Whilst there are those that will question why it has taken me so long… I actually see this as a good thing as whilst they have to wait for each new publication, I have plenty to choose from.
Allis Hagtorn has answered an add from Sigurd Bagge to become a housekeeper/gardener at a time when her own life has imploded, and she feels the need to withdraw from it and her husband. She believes that his wife is travelling, and she will be there until her return. As the story progresses it is revealed that this may not be the whole truth and that Sigurd has been keeping secrets of his own.
Now to the hard part, writing my review. This is not down to the fact that I didn’t like the book as I really did. It’s not like anything else I have read to date but it did leave me wondering how I was going to put words on a page that would truly do it justice. At only 185 pages it is not a long book but each one of those pages draws you in to a story that is completely and utterly fascinating. With no distinguishable conversations, you are never sure if Allis is remembering things that happened or if we are witnessing it as it happens. There is no sense of time or season…. Unless Allis makes reference to it, you are so absorbed in the telling of the story that you have no idea of how long she has been there for and the lack of chapter headings adds to this. Somehow this just works and if someone had not mentioned it to me, I probably wouldn’t have noticed as I was so engrossed in what I was reading.
Throughout the book you get the feeling that all is not right with Sigurd, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is… just as you think you understand, you are thrown completely off base with new discoveries. The seclusion of the setting and the fact that this story is about Allis and Sigurd with very little interaction from other characters complement each other, all adding up to an ending that is wholly unexpected.
If you are looking for a book that is different and maybe a little challenging, then The Bird Tribunal should be high on your list of MBR (must be read) books.

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  • J S Stonemam
  • 01-27-18

unusual

just two characters, well written and narrated kept to the plot which was quite simple.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Kendall
  • 06-24-17

A dark but compelling read

I bought this book on Audible as I had listened to the first episode on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and decided that I wanted to have whole thing unabridged.
If I had read this book rather than listened to it I would have described it as a page-turner and I found it compelling right from the start. I very much enjoyed the author's style and the tense atmosphere she creates as the narrative unfolds.
That said, in retrospect, I think this might have worked better for me if it had been abridged or as a shorter novella as there are parts, especially the climax, which are just a bit too drawn out. There was also a number of issues which I simply didn't understand. Why was she so instantly in this man's thrall? Why did she have no apparent connection to the life she had just walked away from?
For my money I would have liked a narration which was more 'read' than 'acted'. I don't need different accents/voices. But I suppose that's just my personal opinion.

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  • a white
  • 07-06-17

Just so dull

Couldn't finish. Dull and the narrator was ok except when doing accents- she should have just read it instead of acting it.....the voice of the man and indeed any other character just felt phoney. Getting my money back.

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  • Mary E Shiel
  • 12-08-19

banal, boring and predictable with deeply unpleasa

struggled to finish and wish i hadn't bothered. thought something unexpected might happen but sadly disappointed.

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  • Heidi (but books are better)
  • 04-23-17

Claustrophobic tale of obsessive love

With her life in ruins after a scandal that wrecked her marriage and cost her her job, historian and TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves it all behind and takes on the position as housekeeper for 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, a mysterious reclusive man living in a small cottage in the rugged Norwegian countryside. Far from town and without transport except a bicycle at her disposal, Allis throws herself into the housekeeping and gardening chores expected of her whilst Bagge’s wife is away. But when time goes by and the woman fails to materialise, Allis slowly falls more and more under her employer’s spell, trying to appease his labile moods. What follows is an account of a dysfunctional and somewhat obsessive love affair, its claustrophobic atmosphere enhanced by the remote setting and a sense of menace and danger always hovering in the background. What really happened to Bagge’s wife?

The Bird Tribunal is a slow-burning mystery with very little action and only two central characters to drive the story, which worked well in some parts but dragged a bit in others. Whilst I enjoyed the tension underlying the story and really liked Allis as a character, I found that the strange “dance” between the two main protagonists became a bit repetitive, and I longed for a bit more action or a twist to move things along. However, I loved the claustrophobic and atmospheric armchair-travel setting, and the mystical component of Norse mythology interspersing the story. I am definitely interested to read more from this author in future.