From Publishers Weekly
Award-winning Norwegian novelist Petterson renders the meditations of Trond Sander, a man nearing 70, dwelling in self-imposed exile at the eastern edge of Norway in a primitive cabin. Trond's peaceful existence is interrupted by a meeting with his only neighbor, who seems familiar. The meeting pries loose a memory from a summer day in 1948 when Trond's friend Jon suggests they go out and steal horses. That distant summer is transformative for Trond as he reflects on the fragility of life while discovering secrets about his father's wartime activities. The past also looms in the present: Trond realizes that his neighbor, Lars, is Jon's younger brother, who "pulls aside the fifty years with a lightness that seems almost indecent." Trond becomes immersed in his memory, recalling that summer that shaped the course of his life while, in the present, Trond and Lars prepare for the winter, allowing Petterson to dabble in parallels both bold and subtle. Petterson coaxes out of Trond's reticent, deliberate narration a story as vast as the Norwegian tundra. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From 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.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Bookmarks Magazine
Per Petterson's tale of love, forgiveness, and the nature of evil has already swept up four prestigious literary awards: two notable prizes in Norway, the Independent
(UK) Foreign Fiction Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. This perceptive, poignant novel blends the exhilaration of youth and the impassive recollections of old age with subtle plotting and biting observations on the question of fate versus free will. Critics differed over Petterson's prose: some found it lackluster, while others thought its simplicity and frankness cleverly captured Trond's voice. The Minneapolis Star Tribune
also took issue with Petterson's bland female characters. However, Petterson's unforgettable portrait of a man trying to come to terms with his past will linger long after the last page.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From Booklist
*Starred Review* Three years after his wife's accidental death, Trond Sander, 67, settles into an isolated cabin near Norway's southeastern border with Sweden. It's where he last saw his father at the end of summer 1948. Then 15 and full grown, Trond helped harvest the timber—too early, perhaps, but necessarily, it came to seem later. He also suddenly lost his local best friend, Jon, when, after an early morning spent "stealing horses"—that is, taking an equine joyride—Jon inadvertently allowed a gun accident that killed one of his 10-year-old twin brothers and guiltily ran away to sea. When that summer was over, Trond went back to Oslo, but his father stayed with Jon's mother, his lover since they met in the Resistance during World War II. Segueing with aplomb between his present and past, Trond's own narration is literarily distinguished, arguably to a fault; would a businessman, even one who loves Dickens, write this well? The novel's incidents and lush but precise descriptions of forest and river, rain and snow, sunlight and night skies 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. Olson, Ray --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Review
"This stunning novel will tell you more about the Norwegian countryside and psyche than the most enthusiastically well-informed guidebook."-"Sunday Telegraph"
"[Petterson] captures the essence of a man's vast existence with a clean-lined freshness that hits you like a burst of winter air - surprising and breathtaking."-"Daily Express"
." . . a true gem, compact yet radiant."-"Independent on Sunday"
." . . a minor masterpiece of death and delusion."-"The Guardian" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Review
"A gripping account of such originality as to expand the reader's own experience of life."--Thomas McGuane, The New York Times Book Review
"Read Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. From the first terse sentences of this mesmerizing Norwegian novel about youth, memory, and, yes, horse stealing, you know you're in the hands of a master storyteller."--Newsweek
"That's the effect of Per Petterson's award-winning novel: It hits you in the heart at close range."--Alan Cheuse, NPR's All Things Considered
"A masterpiece of tough romance . . . One of my favorite two or three new novels to appear this year."--The New York Sun
"Petterson's spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force. . . . 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
"A marvelous book."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"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."--Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)