Excerpt from It's Fine By Me by Per Petterson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

It's Fine By Me

by Per Petterson

It's Fine By Me by Per Petterson X
It's Fine By Me by Per Petterson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 208 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1

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 it hard and wiped the sunglasses on my jeans before I put them back, and I pulled my shirt over my head. Then I went in.

The first thing I saw was the Norwegian Constitution. It was on the wall, behind glass, just to the right. The second thing was the headmaster's office. There was no mistaking it, because there was a sign on the door. I headed straight for that sign without slackening my pace in case someone was watching me, and I would hate to make them think I didn't know where I was going. I knocked and stared straight at the door while I was waiting, and when a voice shouted 'COME IN!', I opened the door and did not look to either side.

It was a large room with shelving along the walls, a spirit duplicator in a corner and a desk. Behind the desk sat a large, rather fat man. He raised his head from a pile of papers and looked me over. Through the sunglasses it was hard to see if he was smiling, but I don't believe he was. 'The tops of your boots,' he said. I looked down. Like everybody else I wore brown rubber boots folded down over my calves and on the lining I had written beatles in block capitals. I crouched and turned them up.

'I can't think of anything I dislike more,' he said.

I shrugged and waited. He sat eyeing me and there was a long silence before he said:

'Now take off your sunglasses. I like to know who I'm talking to.'

I shook my head. 'You won't?' I shook my head again.

'May I ask why?' His face was a balloon, a moon with dark patches.

'I have scars.'

'Scars?'

'Terrible scars round my eyes.'

'Is that so?' He slowly nodded with that round head of his and stroked his chin. 'May I have a look?'

'No.'

'No?' He was lost for words. He drummed a pencil. 'Well, what's your name then?'

'Audun Sletten. I'm supposed to begin the seventh class here.'

'I see, so you're Audun Sletten, are you? I've been waiting half an hour for you.'

'I got lost.'

'You got lost?'

'Yes.'

'Is that possible? There's only one way down here, isn't there?'

I shrugged. He felt unsure now. I knew he could not see my eyes. I was the Phantom. He sighed and stood up.

'You'll be starting in the B class. It's mixed. We have a girls' class, a boys' class and a mixed class in the seventh year. Follow me.'

He walked towards the door with small, quick steps, even though he was a big man, and heavy, like John Wayne, slightly knock-kneed, and I jumped to the side so he could pass, and then we were in the corridor. I trudged after him. Compared with the school I used to go to, this one seemed never-ending. Halfway down the corridor he stopped and turned.

Per Petterson. Excerpt from It's Fine By Me. Copyright © 1992 by Forlaget Oktober, Oslo. English translation copyright © 2011 by Don Bartlett. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Arvid Jansen: A Familiar Face

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Courting Mr. Lincoln
    Courting Mr. Lincoln
    by Louis Bayard
    19 out of 21 of our First Impression Reviewers rated Louis Bayard's latest novel, Courting Mr. ...
  • Book Jacket
    Transcription
    by Kate Atkinson
    Over her two-decade-plus career, Kate Atkinson has reinvented herself as a writer several times by ...
  • Book Jacket: Exhalation
    Exhalation
    by Ted Chiang
    Exhalation is an assemblage of nine short stories and novellas written by Ted Chiang, a computer ...
  • Book Jacket: Disappearing Earth
    Disappearing Earth
    by Julia Phillips
    On the remote peninsula of Kamchatka—tucked away on the far eastern corner of Russia and ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Women Rowing North
    by Mary Pipher

    The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of Reviving Ophelia.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Guest Book
    by Sarah Blake

    "An American epic in the truest sense…"
    Entertainment Weekly
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Her Kind of Case
by Jeanne Winer

A highly-recommended emotion-filled legal drama with three starred reviews!

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Miracle Creek

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I I T S Form O F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.