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Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson and Anne Born

Overview -

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW"
A "TIME" MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
"Out Stealing Horses" has been embraced across the world as a classic, a novel of universal relevance and power.  Read more...


 
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More About Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson; Anne Born
 
 
 
Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW"
A "TIME" MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
"Out Stealing Horses" has been embraced across the world as a classic, a novel of universal relevance and power. Panoramic and gripping, it tells the story of Trond Sander, a sixty-seven-year-old man who has moved from the city to a remote, riverside cabin, only to have all the turbulence, grief, and overwhelming beauty of his youth come back to him one night while he's out on a walk. From the moment Trond sees a strange figure coming out of the dark behind his home, the reader is immersed in a decades-deep story of searching and loss, and in the precise, irresistible prose of a newly crowned master of fiction. Per Petterson, author of "In the Wake," has written five novels, which have established his reputation as one of Norway's best fiction writers. "Out Stealing Horses" has won the Norwegian Bookseller's Prize, the Critics' Award for best novel, and "The" "Independent "Foreign Fiction Prize.
Anne Born, poet, critic, and historian, has translated many works from the principal Scandinavian languages into English, including two previous novels by Per Petterson. Winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary AwardOne of the "New York Times" 10 Best Books of the YearA "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize Finalist Trond's friend Jon often appeared at his doorstep with an adventure in mind for the two of them. But this morning was different. What began as a joy ride on "borrowed" horses ends with Jon falling into a strange trance of grief. Trond soon learns what befell Jon earlier that day--an incident that marks the beginning of a series of vital losses for both boys.
At age sixty-seven, Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated part of eastern Norway to live the rest of his life with a quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him to reflect on that fateful summer. "In this quiet but compelling novel, Trond Sander, a widower nearing seventy, moves to a bare house in remote eastern Norway, seeking the life of quiet contemplation that he has always longed for . . . Trond's recollections center on a single afternoon, when he and Jon set out to take some horses from a nearby farm; what began as an exhilarating adventure ended abruptly and traumatically in an act of unexpected cruelty. Petterson's spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force, and the narrative gains further power from the artful interplay of Trond's childhood and adult perspectives. Loss is conveyed with all the intensity of a boy's perception, but acquires new resonance in the brooding consciousness of the older man."--"The New Yorker" "In this quiet but compelling novel, Trond Sander, a widower nearing seventy, moves to a bare house in remote eastern Norway, seeking the life of quiet contemplation that he has always longed for. A chance encounter with a neighbor--the brother, as it happens, of his childhood friend Jon--causes him to ruminate on the summer of 1948, the last he spent with his adored father, who abandoned the family soon afterward. Trond's recollections center on a single afternoon, when he and Jon set out to take some horses from a nearby farm; what began as an exhilarating adventure ended abruptly and traumatically in an act of unexpected cruelty. Petterson's spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force, and the narrative gains further power from the artful interplay of Trond's childhood and adult perspectives. Loss is conveyed with all the intensity of a boy's perception, but acquires new resonance in the brooding consciousness of the older man."--"The New Yorker" "Among the agreeable surprises of Per Petterson's novel is the misleading suggestion that the modesty of his narrator's voice foretells a tale of minor events, an account of the sort of photorealism that prevents anything from happening. In fact, the book contains some bold, convincingly stated coincidences well outside the range of our highbrow realists . . . The characters living and dead are equally palpable, another small wonder of "Out Stealing Horses" . . . This short yet spacious and powerful book--in such contrast to the well-larded garrulity of the bulbous American novel today--reminds us of the careful and apropos writing of J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald and Uwe Timm. Petterson's kinship with Knut Hamsun, which he has himself acknowledged, is palpable in Hamsun's "Pan," "Victoria," and even the lighthearted "Dreamers." But nothing should suggest that his superb novel is so embedded in its sources as to be less than a gripping account of such originality as to expand the reader's own experience of life."--Thomas McGuane, "The New York Times Book Review" "By the time I had finished this novel I knew it for what it is: a triumph of narrative architecture and powerful imagery, and a subtle consideration of identity. It is the story of a life that was pursued one summer in a Nordic world of giant trees and fast-coursing rivers, bloody rivalries, feats of strength, desperate passion, a world where the father-son relationship is elemental and a little dangerous. But then that life, for reasons I shall leave you to discover, veers away toward the modern world, where tragedies are lit by ambulance lights. It has been some time since I have read a novel that pleased me so much in its artistic accomplishment."--Katherine A. Powers, "The Boston Globe"
"Petterson wrings great emotional depth from what seems a bare-bones tale--the decision of a 67-year-old Norwegian man to pass his final years alone in the remote countryside. Escape, especially from his past, proves elusive in an enthralling tale with some distinct prose echoes of Cormac McCarthy."--John Marshall, "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
""This is a novel that strikes deep and lingers long . . . like some shattering literary symphony."--"The Independent "(U.K.) ""Out S

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780312427085
  • ISBN-10: 0312427085
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Publish Date: April 2008
  • Page Count: 238


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Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Out Stealing Horses

Petterson, who hails from Norway, offers a moving tale about the power of memory and the bonds of family. Struggling to recover from the death of his wife, 67-year-old Trond Sander moves into a lonely cabin in southeastern Norway, a region that's rich with his own personal history. It's the place where Trond last saw his father before he walked out on the family. The year was 1948, the season was summer, and Trond, then 15 years old, was working as a logger. Not long after returning to the area, Trond crosses paths with a neighbor, who happens to be the brother of his childhood friend, Jon, and all sorts of memories start to surface. Looking back on the summer of 1948, Trond recalls the afternoon he and Jon decided to take some horses from a neighbor's farm. That day, Jon accidentally killed one of his own twin brothers—a tragedy that caused him to run away. Trond's father, as it turns out, was in love with Jon's mother, and their relationship is part of what tore their family apart. Decades later, Trond is still working to make sense of the formative events of his adolescence. His first-person narration—forthright, simple and tinged with melancholy—makes for rewarding reading. Told partially through flashbacks, this is a poignant, beautifully realized narrative that should earn the acclaimed Petterson new fans.

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