Nature reveals secrets to Mattis. He can decipher the language of birds. He can read the letters that the woodcock writers to him with its beak and feet. And he can articulate the deepest questions of life: Why are things the way they are? he asks the friendly farmer’s wife who offers him coffee when he has again failed in doing the work he has been asked to do.
No-one can offer any answers, but the author tells the story in such a way that the reader comes to share his empathy for Mattis, while still understanding Mattis’s sister Hege and all those who want to help Mattis, but who can’t reach all the way in to him.