Dirk's Reviews > I Curse the River of Time

I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson
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's review
Dec 30, 2011

really liked it
Read in December, 2011

This novel is the reminiscence of a man looking back on his life at a time when he is facing an imminent divorce and the mortal illness of his mother, with whom he has had an intense but cold relationship. It is one of those Scandinavian novels that turn on declarations unspoken and feelings unacted. The title, which is a line from a poem by Mao Zedong, suggests the pervading bitterness. While his novel Out Chasing Horses, better known so far in the US, is of rural, life in the mountains of Norway, this is partly unban, in Oslo, and partly on a Danish resort island. As the title indicates the bitterness is not all about relationships, the rememberer has been a dedicated Maoist and now finds the class struggle meaningless. Instead of following a plot the reader gradually assembles the shards of his life from current scenes and cumulative flashbacks. Characterization works intensely through our growing understanding of how different people understand or fail to understand the protagonist and how differently he understands or fails to understand himself at different times. The prose is thrilling, at once straightforward, flexible, and resonant. I recommend this book strongly.

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message 1: by Spotsalots (new) - added it

Spotsalots This sounds promising.

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