Tronds 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 dayan incident that marks the beginning of a series of vital losses for both boys.
Set in the easternmost region of Norway, Out Stealing Horses begins with an ending. Sixty-seven-year-old Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated area 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.
Many authors ladle out plot in great splashy dollops, Per Peterson measures his with quiet coffee spoons. What at first looks to be a classic coming-of-age story set in Norway, slowly reveals itself to be something more. What that something is is not entirely spelled out, which makes Out Stealing Horses a literary treat for readers who prefer not to be spoon-fed every detail, and instead enjoy filling in some of the gaps for themselves. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Per Petterson fluently jumbles his chronology, sustaining mysteries within several subplots and vivifying evergreen ideas about determinism and the bonds of family. But the real trick is in the way everything finally, neatly converges into an emotional jolt.
New York Sun
Mr. Patterson has something like her talent for scene setting and chronological collage, and all of the writers above have mastered a kind of tempered, minor-key retrospection. Out Stealing Horses is one of my favorite two or three new novels to appear this year.
The novel's incidents and lush but precise descriptions...are on a par with those of Cather, Steinbeck, Berry, and Hemingway, and its emotional force and flavor are equivalent to what those authors can deliver, too.
Haunting, minimalist prose and expert pacing give this quiet story from Norway native Petterson (In the Wake, 2006, etc.) an undeniably authoritative presence.
Petterson coaxes out of Trond's reticent, deliberate narration a story as vast as the Norwegian tundra.
The Guardian (UK) - Ian Thomson
This book is a minor masterpiece of death and delusion in a Nordic land.
Sunday Telegraph (UK)
The plotting is so subtle that one barely notices questions being raised and then, cleverly, answered. By the end, when all the pieces fall into place, we can see how elegantly Petterson has constructed matters, letting us live in a mystery we don't know needs solving until the solution is presented.
The New York Times - Thomas McGuane
This short yet spacious and powerful book...a gripping account of such originality as to expand the reader’s own experience of life.
The Independent - Paul Binding
Anne Born's sensitive translation does justice to an impressive novel of rare and exemplary moral courage, and commendably makes convincing the confrontations of different individuals, different milieux.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Teresa Poignant and private A private look into a private life. A glimpse into real life events in the life of a man that shapes him forever. Softly spoken, non-assuming and blames no one.
I couldn't put the book down yet the ending was not one I would have chosen nor... Read More
Rated of 5
by Penny Life follows everyone... Petterson weaves a tale of the past and the present. Of love, pain, frailty and family - of things that made the man Trond became and the memories of the past he wants to reconcile with in his soul. The translation is beautiful as is the story... Read More
Rated of 5
by John Byrne Out Stealing Horses How a boy grows up.
The story switches between the different critical times of the man's life - and involves the people who were instrumental in it.
I could not put the book down. The more involved his life became - the more intrigued I... Read More
Norway is one of the three kingdoms in the geographical region known as Scandinavia (map); the others being Denmark and Sweden. Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands are sometimes described as Scandinavian
because of their close
geographical and historic
connections with Scandinavia,
although technically speaking
these countries belong to the
wider definition of "Nordic
countries", of which Denmark,
Sweden and Norway are also a
Up until the 9th century AD,
Norway consisted of various
small kingdoms, which were
united for the first time in 872
by King Harald Finehair. His
descendents ruled until the late
14th century, at which time the
country fell into what
Norwegians call "the
400-year-night" triggered by the
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