I’m delighted to welcome you to the final day of the blog tour for superb Nordic Noir novel The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this stunning book.
About the book:
One of Norway’s most distinguished voices, Agnes Ravatn’s first novel to be published in the UK was The Bird Tribunal. It won an English PEN Translation Award, was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and the Petrona Award, and was adapted for a BBC Book at Bedtime. She returns now with a dark, powerful and deeply disturbing psychological thriller about family, secrets and dangerous curiosity…
University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition.
When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg 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.
About the author:
Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian 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 revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility.
Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award, shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.
The Seven Doors is superbly translated by Rosie Hedger.
The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn is a stunning slow burn of a novel that builds the tension slowly. Superbly translated by Rosie Hedger this is a book that drew me in from the outset, the writing stark and understated as we edge ever closer to a powerful denouement that took me completely by surprise.
University professor Nina is at a crossroads in her life. No longer satisfied at work and forced into leaving the home she loves, things take a dark turn when Nina’s daughter Ingeborg decides she wants to move into a house Nina and her husband lease to a young woman and her son. After a visit from Nina and Ingeborg, the woman mysteriously disappears leaving her young son behind. Unable to assuage the guilt she feels, Nina begins her own investigation into Mari’s disappearance. But as the strands of the case begin to come together, it soon becomes apparent that the truth will lead to consequences far worse than Nina could ever have imagined…
Agnes Ravatn has written an astonishingly dark tale that moves along gently, building suspense drip by drip as we move through the story. Interspersed with quieter, thought provoking moments, the tension begins to ratchet up to breaking point and is so palpable I found myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. The writing is stunning, the story twisting and turning this way and that as it cleverly moves towards an ending that left me stunned.
Nina is a character I felt great empathy for as she tries her best to please everyone, from her demanding daughter to her barely present husband. Frustrated with both work and home life, she gets completely caught up in Mari’s story, her sense of guilt at the young woman’s disappearance blinding her to everything but finding out the truth.
With a strong cast of characters, some not very likeable at all, this is a story that had me riveted from beginning to end. The Seven Doors isn’t a fast paced read by any means, but the beautifully understated writing pulled me in and refused to let go until the final, heart stopping page had been turned. Agnes Ravatn has a unique writing style that may not be for everyone, but I loved it and found myself completely immersed in the story, desperate to find out where Nina’s investigation would end.
There is beauty to be found in every line of this book, with not a word wasted as Agnes Ravatn’s powerful writing draws you into a dark and disturbing psychological thriller that will leave you breathless. The Seven Doors is a breathtakingly stunning read that I honestly can’t recommend highly enough.
The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
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