I Curse the River of Time
“How impossible it was to grasp that in the end something as fine as this could be ground into dust” (p. 213).
I Curse the River of Time, the new novel from the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Out Stealing Horses, is a mesmerizingly beautiful book about love, regret, family secrets and failed revolution.
The novel takes us through thirty-seven-y
I came to this after reading James Wood's article on Per Petterson's novels, in which Wood receives this novel with a particular benevolence that is beyond criticism, and very close to the region of awe.
Though Wood doesn't mention it, but a similar awe that he holds for W.G. Sebald might have played its minor role. For according to me, Petterson's voice is very Sebaldesque. Though if Petterson is a Sebald, he is definitely a different kind of Seb...more
Discarded from London Borough of Lewisham Library.
Opening: All this happened quite a few years ago.
#57 TBR Busting 2013
Didn't like this navel-gazing much at all.
5* Out Stealing Horses
4* To Siberia
4* In the Wake
2* It's Fine By Me
2* I Curse the River of Time
"It is 1989: Communism is crumbling, and Arvid Jansen, thirty-seven, is facing his first divorce. At the same time, his mother gets diagnosed with cancer. Over a few intense autumn days, we follow Arvid as he struggles to find a new footing in his life while all the established patterns around him are changing at staggering speed. I Curse the River of Time is an honest, heartbreaking yet humorous portrayal of a complicated mother-son relationship told in Per Petterson’s precise an...more
Per Petterson’s craftsmanship is on display here, as it has been in his prior novels. Alas, this one, which is explores the relationship between a mother and a son, is more static and sluggish than his other works. Still,...more
Very melancholic, without being openly sentimental, prose.
Dark, sad, northern. I liked it. Beautiful pi...more
My last read of 2012 - bleeding over slightly into the new year - and a fine one to end with, both because the prose was a welcome corrective to some of the overwritten and fussy business I was practicing in my own work and because of the novel's preoccupation with the passage of years: the way in which people try to situate themselves in relation to life, in the hopes of stabilizing themselves, only to have time continually erase these relationships. (Hence the title, also a quote fro...more
Arvid's mother is dying of stomach cancer and Arvid is getting dumped by his wife. He takes his two young daughters for outings which co...more
I Curse the River of Time is the story of 37 year old Arvid Jansen, who is going through a divorce and whose mother has been diagnosed with cancer. After coming from the doctor and receiving her diagnosis, she abruptly leaves the family home in Oslo and boards a ferry for her native Denmark. She's headed for the family's summer house on the coast and Arvid decides to follow her.
Right away, I was filled with a sense of foreboding. It is dark, deep, powerful, and I couldn't put it down, even though it was profoundly unsettling. It is the story of a thirty-something man reeling from his i...more
I Curse the River of Time begins in 1989, when protagonist Arvid Jansen has just learned that his 15-year marriage is over and that his mother has stomach cancer. Arvid is also a Communist g...more
> 5 Stars. Unassuming, but aches with deep emotion. Beautiful prose. More for readers of Ian McEwan than
> those of Khaled Hosseini.
Needless to say, when I discovered a couple of days...more
Like one of the readers whose comments I looked at, I recognized myself in...more
This all comes strongly through as he remembers the 3 things that will be leaving him,...more
The protagonist of I Curse the River of Time, Arvid, is reflecting back on a period of his life where his marriage was dissolving and his mother had just been diagnosed with stomach cancer, against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a recounting of a generalized feeling of dissolution, loss...more
This book was beautifully reviewed, and I DIDN'T LIKE IT. I can't decide whether I had a reaction to a character that was so magnificently rendered that I had to hate him, or whether it was just not Petterson's best. (I LOVED "Out Stealing Horses"...)
This is a morose, self-absorbed reflection on loss. The principal character is a 37 year old man who, while going through a divorce, is also watching the Berlin Wall fall and saying goodbye to his terminally ill mother. He spends the whole time...more
A couple passages that stood out for me:
"She thought she knew who I was, but she did not..... She did not pay attention, she turned her gaze to other things. She saw me come in and didn't know where I had been, she saw me go out and didn't know where I was heading, how adrift I was, how sixteen I was without her, how seventeen, how eighteen..."
"...but when it came to dying, I was scared. Not of being dead, that I coul...more
In the end, this story is an exceptionally well-told and empathetic story of a ma...more
Petterson's overall tone as well as his more complex stylistic tweaks shone through to me despite the book being a translation, a point deserving of much appreciation as the style to me is what really lets this novel come across as something with tremendous emotional resonance and staying power.
I've heard Petterson's pro...more