Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dead Black Birds

by Jorn Lier Horst, Norway

This weekend I have been to Göteborg Book Fair, the largest cultural event in Scandinavia. The Swedish fair was established in 1985, and receives around 100,000 visitors every year.

I was there to present ”Vinterstengt” (”Closed for Winter”, UK 2013), that have just been translated into Swedish. In most of the countries where this book is published, it is a dead bird on the book cover. One of the exceptions is the English version. I had no thoughts of dead birds when I started writing the book. The book is about a philosophical question that has always concerned me: What is the reason why some people become criminals?

Some dead, black birds
That night I started writing, I saw a news story on TV about how it in the course of a day had dropped thousands of dead black birds from the sky in Arkansas in the USA. 

No one had any explanation as to why. A few days later the same thing happened in the small town Fallköping in Sweden. I wove these mysterious events into my story. It creates an eerie atmosphere when a bird falls down and hit the hood of a car or land on a terrace floor, a bit like in Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds".

Dead birds continues to fall from the sky. I have seen several newspaper articles about it since the first time. But unlike real life, in the book "Closed for Winter" you get an explanation of the phenomenon. A logical and reasonable explanation that is closely linked to murder mystery and the big question: The reason for crime.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock. The master of suspense 

Jorn Lier Horst


  1. Jorn, this is very creepy stuff. And it's the wrong side of winter to be thinking about it. Thanks for the goosebumps!

  2. Okay, Jørn, you hooked me. But do I have to read it in Swedish?

  3. Hate seeing those poor birds all over the place.