Book Review

The Seven Doors – Agnes Ravatn

Today I am joining the blog tour for Nordic noir, The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn (translated by Rosie Hedger). Many thanks to Agnes, and to Orenda Books, for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour.


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.


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Seven Doors Cover


The Seven Doors is a book of two halves for me. I found that the narrative felt strangely emotionless and entirely detached from the events of the book, which is not a style that I am overly keen on as it prevents me becoming entirely absorbed in the story. However, in spite of the style not being to my personal taste, I was drawn to Nina from the start, and intrigued by the story.

Nina struck me as a gentle soul, and I found it interesting to read about a character who was so successful professionally, and yet seemed somewhat downtrodden and unsure when surrounded by her more confident husband and daughter. I didn’t take to Nina’s daughter, Ingeborg, at all at first. She is as opposite to Nina as I think it is possible to be, coming over as rude and abrasive, only focusing on what she wants. I felt sorry for Nina trying to rein her in, with very little support from Mads.

Mari’s story unfolds slowly as Nina digs deeper into the mystery surrounding her disappearance, and is revealed to be desperately sad in so many ways. I just wanted to wrap her and her son up and protect them from the world.

Although the writing style wasn’t to my taste, I found myself enjoying this book and speeding through it to find out what was going on. 


Agnes Author picAgnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary debut with the novel Week 53 in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing Still (2011), Popular Reading (2011) and Operation Self-Discipline (2014). In these works, Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal, 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.


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