Fans of Per Petterson's other books in English will be delighted by this opportunity to observe Arvid Jansen in his youth from a fresh perspective. In It's Fine By Me, Arvid befriends a boy named Audun. On Audun's first day of school he refuses to talk or take off his sunglasses; there are stories he would prefer to keep to himself. Audun lives with his mother in a working-class district of Oslo. He delivers newspapers and talks for hours about Jack London and Ernest Hemingway with Arvid. But he's not sure that school is the right path for him and feels that life holds other possibilities.
Sometimes tender, sometimes brutal, It's Fine By Me is a brilliant novel from the acclaimed author of Out Stealing Horses and I Curse the River of Time.
I was thirteen years old and about to start the seventh
class at Veitvet School. My mother said she would go with
me on the first day we were new to the area, and anyway
she had no job but I didn't want her to. It was the 18th
of August, the sky was all grey, and as I opened the school
gate and went into the playground, it started to rain. I
pushed my sunglasses up my nose and walked slowly across
the open expanse. It was deserted. Midway, I stopped and
looked around. To the right there were two red prefabs,
and straight ahead lay the squat, blue main building. And
there was a flagpole with a wet, heavy flag clinging to the
halyard. Through the windows I could see faces, and those
sitting on the inside pressed their noses against the panes
and watched me standing in the rain. It was bucketing
down. It was my first day, and I was late.
By the time I reached the entrance, my hair was streaming and my shirt was soaking wet. I took it off and wrung ...
In his novel It’s Fine by Me, Per Petterson uses the shared-yet-unique loneliness [all humans experience] as the foundation for characters who are so vulnerable, so real, so beautifully complex, you ache for them.
(Reviewed by Elena Spagnolie).
Full Review (1248 words).
In It's Fine By Me, on his first day at Veitvet School in 1965, 13-year-old Audun Sletten meets Arvid Jansen a young man who would become his best, and one of his only, friends. "A few girls were skipping rope, and coming straight towards me was a boy on crutches
I glanced left and right, but there was no one else by the fence. He had dark, curly hair and boots like mine, with KINKS written on the one and HOLLIES on the other
I had decided not to make friends with anyone at this school, but this bloke was hard to refuse."
Though he plays a secondary role to Audun in It's Fine By Me, Arvid Jansen will be familiar to Per Petterson fans; he has starred in four of the author's other works, each of which describes the ...
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