Tarjei Vesaas

The Birds

The Birds


This is the story of Mattis, a mentally handicapped man who lives with and is cared for by his older sister, Hege. Within their isolated, lakeside existence, Mattis cannot make sense of his tangled thoughts, frightening apparitions, surges of emotion and clever insights. When a travelling lumberjack attracts Hege's affections, the disruption is too much for Mattis to bear.

This Norwegian masterpiece sensitively captures a mystic command of the natural world, the prison of unfulfilled time and the fragility of the human mind. The narrative is sparse, poetic and contemplative, with an ending that crescendos into heartbreak.

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