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Out Stealing Horses


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A moving tale about feelings of isolation and of the painful loss of innocence and of traditional ways of life gone for ever.

About the Author

Per Petterson was born in 1952 and was a librarian and bookseller before he published his first work, a volume of short stories, in 1987. Since then he has written three novels which have established his reputation as one of Norway's best fiction writers. To Siberia and In the Wake are also published by Harvill in English translation


Sixty-seven-year-old Trond Sander lives alone with his dog in a remote cabin in easternmost Norway. He hopes this isolation will help him take life one step at a time after the deaths of both his sister and his wife three years ago. This peaceful solitude is broken by the appearance of his only neighbor out looking for his dog. Meeting Lars, a boyhood friend Trond hasn't seen in 50 years, brings forth a multitude of memories. In flashback, the story centers on the summer of 1948, three years after the German occupiers left. The defining moment in those memories was when Lars, at age ten, accidentally shot his twin brother with a hunting gun. Now Trond's daily routines mask other unresolved tensions from his boyhood: his passionate feelings for Lars's mother, his father's role in the resistance in 1944 and later abandonment of the family, and his own estrangement from his daughters. Petterson (In the Wake) has established his reputation abroad, winning several international prizes including the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, but he deserves critical acclaim here as well. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Lyrical, deceptively clever...the way the story folds together like the petals of a rose is one of the novel's pleasurable surprises...an intelligent journey from boyhood into manhood... * Daily Telegraph *
Deeply atmospheric...concise beauty of his prose movingly captures the Norwegian landscape and rural way of life...This stunning novel will tell you more about the Norwegian countryside and psyche than the most enthusiastically well-informed guide book' * Daily Telegraph *
Petterson catches so effectively the thing that haunts all of us, the knowledge of how fragile life is...He captures the essence of a man's existence with a clean-lined freshness that hits you like a burst of winter air - surprising and breathtaking...touching humour...the narrative is beautifully balanced...Petterson writes with robust unpretentiousness. His story gathers pace like growing up, and stimulates heart and mind like a brisk country walk. * Daily Express *
Limpid prose...an impressive novel of rare and exemplary moral courage. * Independent on Sunday *
A novel of considerable quality. * Scotsman *

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 2007 Reed Business Information.

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