Hi and welcome to another #BiteSizeSaturday! I hope you’re dressed warmly because today we’re going North! I have two books I’d love to talk to you about today, two books I’ve found through lovely blogger friends, books I’ve listened to and absolutely adored, so let’s dive right in!
First up is The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn (tr. Rosie Hedger), which I read during #Orentober last year, and I’ve been sitting on this review since then, waiting for its ideal companion for a #BiteSizeSaturday post. Frankly, this is one of the weirdest books I read last year, and maybe ever. And I mean that in the very best way! It got under my skin with the incredible eeriness of the remote Norwegian setting and the characters. Speaking of which, there are only three characters and two small supporting characters in the entire book. Allis, who has clearly run away for reasons yet to become apparent and has gone to work as a housekeeper / gardener for Sigurd, who is a silent, aloof enigma for the longest time, and Sigurd’s wife Nor, quite the enigma herself, away on mysterious travels, only ever talked about, never actually seen by the reader.
Because of its fairy tale like nature, The Bird Tribunal is the perfect book to listen to. (Beware that I’m referring to the Grimm fairy tales, rather than the Disney versions!) With some Norse mythology thrown in for good measure, The Bird Tribunal has a tense, understated tone that was magnified by the narration of Penelope Rawlins. Atmospheric, tense, beautiful, recommended!
Need more info? I’ll happily refer you to Eva’s review here and Nicki’s review here since those two made me buy it 😄
The other Nordic goodie I have for you today is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which I picked up because Eva @ Novel Deelights told me it’s one of her favourite books ever, so of course I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about! Burial Rites is a stunning tale – based on true facts – about Agnes, a young woman convicted of murder, and sent to a remote farm to await execution. The year is 1829, the location is Iceland, and this book did for me what Alias Grace failed to do: I was drawn in from the start, I felt a pull towards Agnes and I wanted to know EVERYTHING, who is she, what drives her, did she do it, and if she did, why?! Intriguing as Agnes is as a character, the other characters are every bit as interesting, from the priest who is to make sure she finds God before she dies, to the farmer family where she’s staying, and the evolution in their relationships with Agnes. I haven’t a single nit to pick, I loved everything about this book, its mystery, its setting, its well-rounded characters, its atmospheric beauty in telling a rather grim tale. Narrator Morven Christie does an outstanding job and enhances the eeriness of the story with her narration. There are also some lines in Icelandic, and I really enjoyed listening to her pronounce them, and the names of people and places as well. Recommended!
Thanks for joining me today! I hope you’ve enjoyed our time up North! Do you enjoy Nordic reads? Any recommendations? Please tell me below!