A Year of Orenda – The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn (trns Rosie Hedger)

Today Mandie shares her thoughts on The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn. I think we both loved the author’s first book, The Bird Tribunal and were looking forward to this second book. If you want to know what I thought about the book, you can find my review here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 17 September 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

When the tenant of a house that university professor Nina owns with her doctor husband goes missing after an uncomfortable visit, Nina starts her own investigation … with deeply disturbing results. The long-awaited new thriller from the bestselling author of The Bird Tribunal.

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.

When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit.

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

Exquisitely dark and immensely powerful, The Seven Doors is a sophisticated and deeply disturbing psychological thriller from one of Norway’s most distinguished voices.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Nina and her husband Mads have got to move home and Nina is not looking forward to packing up her life and moving from her family home. Added to this her daughter Ingeborg is putting the pressure on to let her move into the other house they own which brings on a chain of events no one could expect.

Nina is clearly struggling with the upheaval in her life that is caused by urgency to find somewhere new to live so when their tenant Mari disappears, she finds this as an excuse to escape the decisions she must make. As she digs further into her life you find that just like Nina you have more and more questions that need answering and you are not sure if Mari disappearance was by her own instigation or not. With the book told from Nina’s perspective you get to see what she is thinking and feeling, and you get the sense that she is looking for something more than Mari. At times I was a little frustrated by her as she seemed to let her daughter Ingeborg run roughshod over her, never really calling her out for her attitude that if I am honest frequently made me want to slap her. Her husband Mads seems to just want an easy life and seems quite oblivious to some of the things going on.

There is something about Agnes Ravatn’s books that are uniquely different, making her stand out from the crowd. Her writing style immediately draws you to the characters and immerses you in the story. There is something about it that makes it flow as if you were in the middle of it all watching from the edges of the events that happen along the way. Each of the characters are flawed but the revelation of these flaws is slow and purposeful adding to the tension within the book. This is certainly one that will stick with me for some time, as much for the beauty of the writing as for the story itself.

About the Author

Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an author and columnist. She made her literary debut 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 sjoldisiplin), 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 premièred in Oslo in 2015.

Books by Agnes Ravatn

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