Out Stealing Horses
Per Petterson, 2003; English trans., 2005
Petterson's writing is laconic yet grainy—he details the day-to-day minutiae of his characters' lives—as they hike, cook, chop wood, fell trees, sharpen tools, hay their fields. Even more, he immerses us in the joyous and near mystical beauty of Norway's night-time skies, it's brittle cold and dense forests.
Most engaging of all is Trond's father, a charismatic and mysterious man, whom we meet right after the war. Eventually, Trond learns of his father's wartime activities and comes to understand his strange—and strained—relations with surrounding neighbors during that eventful summer of 1948.
Don't look for a fast-paced read; it's not high on plot although a lot happens. It just happens slowly as Petterson gradually unfolds his story, moving back and forth between past and present. It's a quiet, powerful, altogether stunning piece of writing. I loved it.
See our Reading Guide for Out Stealing Horses.
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