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Out Stealing Horses

by
3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,010 Ratings  ·  3,517 Reviews
We were going out stealing horses. That was what he said, standing at the door to the cabin where I was spending the summer with my father. I was fifteen. It was 1948 and oneof the first days of July.

Trond's friend Jon often appeared at his doorstep with an adventure in mind for the two of them. But this morning was different. What began as a joy ride on "borrowed" horse
...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Picador (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark
Aug 16, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have a feeling this book may take root and blossom further within me over time, but for now, I must stop one star short of my top rating.

"Out Stealing Horses" won the world's richest literary prize (The Impac, out of Dublin) last year, and it has had enough buzz that I had to wait weeks for it to come off the reserve list at our local library.

It is the tale of a 67-year-old Norwegian man who retreats to the north woods to review his life, and particularly, a fateful summer in 1948 when he was
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Anna
Jun 27, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I was sorry when I turned to the last page. And surprised--my right hand still held several pages of the book, and I hadn't realized they were the blank ones that often come at the end.

I was sorry, because I wanted to spend more time in this space--rural Norway, mostly, with ventures into Oslo and Sweden. I wanted to spend more time with the narrator, Trond, whose name rarely emerges in the text and who we follow when he is fifteen and when he is sixty-seven, with ventures elsewhere in his life.
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Chris
Nov 19, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The only negative thing I can say – or, more accurately, am willing to say – about this novel is that it begs to be read by the fireplace, and not everybody has a fireplace. I don't have a fireplace.
Manny
My copy of Ut og stjæler hester has a little tear in the dust-jacket, and when my girlfriend sees it she looks at me reproachfully, she respects books in a way I cannot, as physical objects, and she had bought me this elegant first edition as a present, but now I had carelessly used the dust-jacket to mark my page and put too much strain on the paper, it had not been important to me, for I respect books in my own way and was lost in the author's words, in his unique way of using the Norwegian la ...more
Lars Guthrie
Jun 28, 2008 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As chilly as its Norwegian setting, Petterson's novel continues to haunt my thoughts weeks after reading it. Its very title and the many allusions to cowboy culture made me think about what frontier and re-invention means if the edge of the world is vast and dramatically sculpted desert that only ends with limitless ocean, or claustrophobic forest that transitions into Arctic ice. But mostly it made me think about no matter how much we think we know about others and ourselves, it's never complet ...more
Gregory Baird
Sumptuous Prose, but Largely Redundant

Picking up this novel (translated from its original Norwegian), it is easy to understand why “Out Stealing Horses” has earned such high praise from critics; its author, Per Petterson, is a writer of astonishing talent. There are moments where his astute observations and beautiful descriptions sent chills down my spine. Petterson’s depth of understanding for his main character, Trond, is palpable, and he is carefully rendered in an achingly believable portr
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Jim Hale
Dec 29, 2014 Jim Hale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Twenty years ago I probably would have put it down, but as a 53 year old man who is now more of an archeologist than an astronaut, I found this little book to be painfully beautiful. Petterson weaves the story of a 67 year old man who lives alone in a remote Norwegian outpost with his dog and his treasured collection of Dickens novels. But unlike Dickens, Petterson is content to let Trond tell his story without resolution or sentimentality: "...and I look back at that time, I see how each moveme ...more
Donna
Sep 29, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We have had a death in the family which has meant stopping almost everything to pay my respects to Death and Time. I don't know how long they'll be right in the house like this. Maybe until the Peak Freans run out, or until some illuminating memory shakes out of the vault to make sense of the whole; a snow globe marked 'Souvenir of Life on Earth', the light hidden in those falling fake metallic flakes. I do know that whatever it is, Death and TIme will return to their place on the back burner to ...more
Sue
As I said in an update, this book has some of the most effortless to read prose I've ever encountered, but also seems very worth re-reading.

This story of a father and son's relationship, linked by mentions of the titular phrase, holds so much emotion: love, loss, pain, regret, hope and hopelessness, moments of overwhelming joy followed by inevitable sadness. I found the earlier part of the book absolutely poetic, the latter less so....but I'm unsure if that was the book (the story) or me and my
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Jim Coughenour
Jul 09, 2007 Jim Coughenour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bleakfiction
"You decide yourself when it will hurt."

Pet Petterson's novel about a man in late middle age who has exiled himself to a cottage in the remote Norwegian countryside has garnered literary prizes and rave reviews almost everywhere. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I was... well, underwhelmed.

I confess I'm an aficionado of bleak fiction, of those sour almost hopeless ruminations on the fate of age and solitude that might fill more cheery readers with despair. So I was expecting to savor Out Ste
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brian
May 15, 2008 brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a third of the way through and i was certain i'd give this book four or five stars... spare, strong sentences, a jumping chronology, meandering, mysterious... i loved it. and had it remained how it had started -- that is, a book of sketches strung together by a common element -- i would have loved it... but it doesn't. in a way, i think, petterson lacks confidence in his own abilities: he introduces certain plot elements i found wholly unnecessary (not to mention an incredibly anti-climactic res ...more
William1
Jun 20, 2013 William1 rated it really liked it
This is lovely. Very compressed language. Funny how that comes through even in translation (from the Norwegian). At certain points the novel suggests all that is good about Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River," which is not to say it's derivative, not at all; just that Petterson knows his Hemingway. The narrative flashes between past and present. A 67 year old man has moved to rural Norway, away from Oslo after the death of his second wife, and settled in a lakeside village. His children, two dau ...more
M. Sarki
May 20, 2014 M. Sarki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious contemplatives
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/8630462...

Just a marvelous book, paced so lovely, and the telling of the tale so interesting to me. The back and forth between the past and the present accomplished so adroitly that I was simply amazed at Petterson’s talent I had previous to this book been admittedly embarrassingly unaware of.

I think what made this novel feel so important to me is the narrator’s age of sixty-seven and how after a successful career, a couple wives, two kids and on, he decides to retu
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Nathan
Dec 07, 2008 Nathan rated it really liked it
A quiet, reflective novel of one man's attempt to understand and escape from a deep sadness he has carried with him since he was a child. Alone in a remote cabin with the harsh Norway winter fast approaching, Trond searches for a way to explain a single, piercing childhood tragedy that has echoed hauntingly throughout his life. As the focus of the novel shifts seamlessly between a summer Trond spent working with his father and the silent time he now spends alone in his cold, tiny cabin, the deta ...more
Jessica
having finished:
The story grew on me as it began to center more on the father-son relationship, but I did not fall in love... I liked how it was structured, I liked the evocation of landscape and season, but the characters were shadowy for me and it never reached the point of intensity that I wanted it to...that was perhaps the point: not to, to have many small flickers of light instead of one really bright & intense one, but it's what I wanted. I wanted less shadowy characters--for at least
...more
Dem
Oct 29, 2013 Dem rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

Out stealing horses is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time but just had a hunch that it was not for me and the hunch was correct.

This is a quiet but thought provoking sort of novel and tells the story of Trond a vigorous 67 year old residing in rural Norway. He is a loner and has withdrawn from the world.

The writing in this book is beautiful and I loved some of the descriptions in the novel but the story is more a study of character than plot and as much as I enjoyed the w
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notgettingenough
No doubt Out Stealing Horses has been reviewed thus:

Too many long sentences.

Or, to put it another way,

Who does he think he is, anyway, this Per Petterson, with his immodestly large sentences that have no inkling when to end, no brakes, no sensitivity to the situation of the poor reader who has drawn the most enormous amount of oxygen into their lungs, sucking it in until fit to burst, face red and bulging, in order to start at the beginning and be able to go through right to the end of just one
...more
Carmo
Jul 13, 2016 Carmo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noroega, bib-p
Não se fiem no titulo do livro. Pode não augurar nada de especial, mas rapidamente se dá pelo engano.
O que temos é uma história de vida contada com muita sensibilidade, oscilando entre o presente e o passado, num cenário de uma Noruega remota e agreste: fiordes, florestas a cheirar a musgo e resina, vida selvagem à porta de casa, neve, vento, chuva gelada.
Um melancólico regresso ao passado; à perda da inocência e à descoberta de novos sentimentos. O primeiro contacto com a morte, a culpa, a pe
...more
Christopher
In a year, when someone mentions that they are reading this book, I'll say "yeah, I read that", but I will not be able to recall anything about it. Other than its mood. It resides somewhere on the same bookshelf as Tinkers, a shelf covered in frost and nostalgia and sadness.

Both Out Stealing Horses and Tinkers feature an old man remembering his life of hardships. They exude a tone more so than they present a plot - the tone of human isolation and quiet reflection. But unfortunately for me, that'
...more
Susan
Mar 09, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Per Petterson trusts me. I felt this with some satisfaction while reading Out Stealing Horses. He unfolds his story with no unnecessary signposts or reminders or references, trusting that his reader will care enough to gather up every quiet detail as it is shared and infer those that didn’t need to be put down. It is a simple story with many pieces that never snap together so much as they are smoothed into place with time, just as the narrator’s memories are.

His power of description is sad and
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Lisa
Jul 21, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This slender yet powerful book is one to read and reread.

Following the death of his second wife when he "lost interest in talking to people," the aging narrator, Trond, has retired to a remote forest-village in Norway. When his nearest neighbor turns out to be a figure from his past, from a summer spent with his father which shaped the rest of his life, Trond’s memories begin to churn, despite attempts to lose himself in the details of surviving in his new environment (wood-chopping, shopping,
...more
Lucy
Aug 29, 2009 Lucy rated it really liked it
You know when books have a flavor? This had a European flavor. The author is Norwegian whose very Scandinavian characters, Trond and Lars, create a feeling akin to those I had watching films at the International Cinema during college, only in book form. The book doesn't happen in black and white, at least not quite, but there was a definite filter on my mind's lens.

Subdued. Cold. Detached. Serious. Unexplained. Unemotional. Unhappy.

What more could you ask for in a book, right?

As dreary as I am
...more
Steve
Sep 19, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Petterson’s highly praised book, I kept thinking how much like Scandinavia it seemed. Of course, the fact that it’s set in Norway is what triggered this thought. But there are other parallels, too: a kind of natural beauty that applies to both the writing and to the scenery described, episodes of darkness that depict the narrator’s melancholy as well as the long winter nights, and stoicism in the face of it all, with hints that more may be going on than is often expressed or observed.

Tro
...more
Ida Jackson
Mar 22, 2016 Ida Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeg har visst forelsket meg i Pettersons bøker. Vi liker de samme tingene: Dickens. Hunder. Hester. Skildringer av kroppsarbeid og skog. Andre verdenskrig. Det er ekstremt godt skrevet også, men jeg merker at jeg liker det bedre enn andre ekstremt godt skrevne bøker, fordi han tar seg tid til flere turer med hunden i snøen i løpet av romanen, og jeg kunne egentlig nesten lest en bok bare om det.
Ema
Ce se întâmplă când un adolescent descoperă că trecutul este un ținut străin, iar viitorul îi este furat de altcineva? Unde își mai găsește locul în această lume devenită fluidă, în care punctele sale de sprijin se năruie ca și cum ar fi fost clădite din nisip? În final rămâne doar propria persoană, singura în care poate avea încredere, și solitudinea în care nimeni nu poate interveni pentru a schimba reperele vieții, rupând zăgazul stabilității și instaurând neprevăzutul, precum un râu pe care ...more
Anne
Feb 02, 2009 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books of the year? On the Northern California Independent Booksellers Bestseller list? Come on. I'm all for bringing world literature to the american literary public, but do we really need one more of these spare, dreary books about old men remembering their youth? It's not a bad book, just vastly overrated. It's a shame that in the tiny field of translated fiction, we get so many stale, uninventive books; we get to pat ourselves on the back for reading something in translation, ...more
THE
Apr 13, 2011 THE rated it really liked it
Memories revealed, pondered, untangled...apearing like nested ornamental Chinese boxes...somehow fit to form a most impressive novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson. It is November 1999 and 67-year-old Trond Sander, who has recently lost his wife and sister, embarks on a new life in a rural cabin in eastern Norway (far from modern Oslo) where he intends to live in a simple setting far away from people, electronic devices, and global events that no longer influence his views. Trond is Thoreau-l ...more
Vilma
Out Stealing Horses is a book one doesnt read for the plot but for the pleasure of reading itself. There is hardly any action taking place, not much of a plot to speak of and the narrative is unhurried, reflective and focused on the background of events taking place. It has impressionistic qualities. Petterson describes very vividly forests, the nature, snow-covered houses at a distance to use it as a way of describing feelings. Emotions that fill the whole book but he does not write about them ...more
João Carlos
Sep 25, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

Håvard Vikhagen (n. 1952) - Pintor (Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester))

Uma história evocativa e nostálgica de um regresso às origens - dominada pelos sentimentos humanos e condicionada por uma floresta deslumbrante. Magistral...


"Toda a minha vida ansiei por estar sozinho num lugar como este. Mesmo quando tudo corria bem, como era frequente acontecer. Bem que o posso dizer. Tenho dito sorte. Mas mesmo nessas alturas, por exemplo a meio de um abraço e quando alguém me sussurrava ao ouvido
...more
Mia Tryst
Out Stealing Horses won numerous literary book awards. Now we got that out of the way, I have to say I struggled with the narration: The POV is very aloof, at times, so distant and coldly unemotional that any amount of expressed emotion felt forced: For example, when the father sends the son away and the author suddenly splices in with a movie scene, it was disconcerting, an unsympathetic way to describe the parting scene; not to mention it was garish and a cruel way to treat such a tender passa ...more
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  • The Half Brother
  • The Ice Palace
  • The Discoverer
  • Jonas
  • The Twin
  • Child Wonder
  • Man Gone Down
  • Days in the History of Silence
  • Svøm med dem som drukner
  • Mysteries
  • Innsirkling
  • Berlin Poplars
  • Lillelord
  • The Song Of The Red Ruby
  • Bikubesong
  • Mannen som elsket Yngve
  • The Murder of Halland
  • Five Skies
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Petterson knew from the age of 18 that he wanted to be a writer, but didn't embark on this career for many years - his debut book, the short story collection Aske i munnen, sand i skoa, (Ashes in the Mouth, Sand in the Shoes) was published 17 years later, when Petterson was 35. Previously he had worked for years in a factory as an unskilled labourer, as his parents had done before him, and had als ...more
More about Per Petterson...

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“You decide for yourself when it will hurt.” 90 likes
“People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know _about_ you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No-one can touch you unless you yourself want them to.” 81 likes
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