Hello, Book Dragons! Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for The Seven Doors By Agnes Ravatn and I would like to share an extract from the book, with all of you. Thank you very much to Anne from Random Things Tours for the invitation. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Psychological Thrillers
Release date: 17 09 2020
Price*: Kindle £3.99 (GBP)/ Paperback £7.37 (GBP)
Kindle $6.15 (USD)/ Paperback $15.95 (USD)
Pages: ~ 276
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: 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.
In an attempt to curry favour with Milja, she serves hot dogs for dinner, but her granddaughter gives them the merest prod before proceeding to spoon ketchup into her mouth.
Afterwards, Nina fetches pencils and paper, but Milja shows no interest: after scribbling briefly on the sheet of paper, she starts drawing on the table with a crafty smile.
Nina fetches a selection of old boardgames she’s been looking forward to sharing with her granddaughter; Milja, for her part, insists that she wants to play on the iPad.
But Grandma doesn’t have an iPad, you know that, Nina says, and her granddaughter gazes up at her with a combination of amazement and scorn. Nina is on the verge of trying to download some game or other onto her phone to satisfy her demands, but instead she attempts a cunning diversion tactic.
Time for some cocoa, I think!
Ice cream! Milja says, her hands by her sides.
It’s not a grandparent’s job to bring up children, Nina thinks afterwards, as they sit in front of the television, each with their own long-forgotten ice cream, discovered after a rummage around at the back of the freezer.
Ingeborg calls at that moment and asks if Milja can stay the night. She and Eirik are still in full swing, styling the apartment for photographs.
What’s the secret to getting her to do as you ask? Nina asks.
Isn’t Dad there with you?
He’s going to be back late, Nina says.
Just give her the iPad.
I don’t have one!
Ingeborg ends the call with a sigh.
In bed, Milja screams for Mummy and Daddy while Nina frantically scans the bookshelves in the hallway for a children’s book or collection of fairy tales. Eventually she stumbles upon an old copy of Aesop’s Fables, which she plucks from the shelf and clutches tightly as she runs back into the room.
Milja objects obstreperously as Nina suggests one fable after another, The Lion and the Mouse, The Fox and the Stork. Eventually she reaches The Hares and the Frogs.
‘The Hares were having such a terrible time that they decided to take their own lives,’ Nina reads, and Milja falls silent.
Nina glances down at her and she looks back up at her grandmother. Nina is so relieved to have a moment’s respite from her theatrical wailing that she reads on without hesitation, uncertain whether Milja understands what taking one’s life actually means. She’s never actually read this fable, so she’s keen to find out how it will end after such an interesting start.
‘The hares were tired of finding themselves under constant attack from other predators,’ she reads, ‘never able to enjoy a moment’s peace without being plagued by fear. Was life truly worth living? The hares got together and eventually decided on a dramatic course of action: collective suicide.’ Milja rests her head on the pillow and listens intently, her eyes wide. ‘The hares hopped down to a small lake nearby, where a group of frogs were crouching by the water’s edge in the moonlight. Terrified by the gallop of the hare’s paws as they approached, the frogs hopped into the water in a panic. The splashing of the frogs in the water caused the nervous hares to stop short on their way towards their planned death by drowning. One wise hare stepped forwards and said: Stop, my fine fellow hares. No matter how weak and afraid we may feel, there are creatures even weaker and more afraid than we are. Why should we end our lives? Let’s make the best of this situation.’
And that was that, Nina says.
Another story! Milja says.
Another story? Very well, let me see, Nina says, glad to finally have some sort of upper hand over her granddaughter. Quickly she riffles through the book to find something that might capture her interest while also helping to put her to sleep. ‘The Sick Lion’, she says, and Milja nods gravely.
‘King of the beasts, His Majesty the Lion, had fallen ill,’ she reads. ‘He lay in his cave, groaning and sighing. The other animals weren’t sure what to do, now that they’d lost their leader. Eventually they decided to visit him, for if they failed to do so, he was sure to become enraged, and he was too ill to do them any harm.’
Milja lay there, rapt.
‘One by one, or in small groups, they made their way to the royal cave. Some brought small gifts; others came only to speak with him. All creatures great and small visited the sick king,’ she reads.
‘Only one animal was missing: the Fox.
‘As soon as the Lion realised that the Fox wasn’t intending to visit him, he sent the Jackal to ask how he could be so inconsiderate.
‘His Majesty is extremely unhappy with you! the Jackal said. There he lies, gravely ill, and you haven’t even poked your nose in to see how he’s feeling.
‘Mr Jackal, the Fox replied solemnly. It’s not that I don’t wish to see our king. Quite the contrary! I value him as highly as everyone else. Several times now I’ve been on my way to see him, always with a little chicken bone as a gift—
‘Yes, but then what happened? the Jackal asked impatiently.
‘Well, then I spotted something that frightened me, something that stopped me in my tracks, in spite of how keen I was to pay the king a visit.’
She stops, looks down.
Milja is lying with her nose buried in the pillow, breathing deeply.
Thank goodness for that, Nina thinks. She places the book down and perches on the edge of the bed for a long while to make sure that her granddaughter is really sleeping.
Eventually she turns out the light above the bed, stands up and tiptoes out of the room, letting the door close behind her, gently, gently.
By the time she arrives back downstairs, Mads is home. He’s turned on the oven and is standing at the kitchen worktop making supper.
He gives her an inquisitive thumbs up and she nods with thinly concealed pride.
Fast asleep, she whispers.
Bravo, he says, pulling out a plate for her.
About the author: Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is an 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 shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Ravatn received the Norwegian radio channel radio NRK P2 Listener’s Novel Prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to the Youth Critic’s Award for The Bird Tribunal which also made into a successful play, and premiered in Oslo in 2015.
*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.