The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas

Mattis is the main character of this book that deals with human relations, emotions, and sensitivities. It’s about relationships between people and between people and nature.

Mattis lives with his sister Hege in the Norwegian countryside near a forest and by a lake. He’s extraordinarily aware of nature and changes in the natural environment. He gets excited when a woodcock starts flying over the house where they live and gets upset when lightning strikes an aspen close by.

He’s scared of storms and feels pressured when interacting with other humans. He’s socially inept and tends to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

Hege knits sweaters and the money she earns keeps them solvent but Mattis can’t work very well as he feels pressure and imagines people are watching him. He can’t concentrate and even weeding turnips is beyond him after 20 minutes or so.

Luckily, the people around understand who he is and try not to be upset with him. He’s tolerated though people are impressed when he rows two young girls to the shore.

Hege suggests Mattis act as a ferryman on the lake and his only passenger is a lumberjack called Jorgen who moves in to their house and becomes Hege’s lover.

The situation really improves as Hege is a lot happier and their financial situation is more secure, but Mattis doesn’t see it that way. He’s concerned about what will happen to him as he thinks he’ll be thrown out of the house.

I was so impressed with the author that I have bought two more of his books.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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