Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes: Stories” as Want to Read:
Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes: Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes: Stories

by
3.67  ·  Rating details ·  565 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The heartwarming debut that brought Per Petterson, author of the highly acclaimed "Out Stealing Horses," to prominence.
Arvid is six years old and lives on the outskirts of Oslo. His father works in a shoe factory; his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid wets his bed at night and has nightmares about crocodiles, but begins to piece the world together. One day his father
...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Graywolf Press (first published 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  565 ratings  ·  92 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Sonja Arlow
This was a sweet novella that gives the reader snippets in the life of a little boy, Arvid, living with his parents in Norway in the early 60’s. His father works in a shoe factory and his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid wets his bed at night and has nightmares about crocodiles, but slowly he is beginning to piece the world together.

Looking at life through the eyes of a sensitive, hyper-imaginative child is always insightful and I enjoyed the stories full of humor and poignant observatio
...more
Rick
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes, the beautifully titled and realized collection of ten short stories, all featuring Arvid Jansen, the protagonist of Petterson’s later novel I Curse the River of Time (2008), was first published in Norway in 1987, and at last here. Why at last? Two reasons. First, here is the first line of the first story: “Dad had a face that Arvid loved to watch, and at the same time made him nervous as it wasn’t just a face but also a rock in the forest with its furrows and ...more
Erika
A small book, which is really a set of disjointed short stories told by the child Arvid. Very Norwegian in phrase (which as usual is quaint and adorable). Arvid is the holy fool of sorts - seeing things as they really are with a kind of innocence that cuts through adult ways of being and seeing. The book itself was unsatisfying, I think it is the prequel to a later novel about the adult Arvid. I am curious to see if the later novel is more satisfying.
"He held his hands to his face as if to keep
...more
Jenni
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this. This is a collection of short vignette stories from a young boy's life. Each story really spoke to a childhood experience or how it feels to be a kid in a world of adults. It was just so wonderfully engrossing and I can't wait to get to this author's other works.
M. Sarki
Nothing to get hung about. Basically just another book for a Petterson "completist" to read. Charming little stories that offer little to nothing to rave about. But no disappointment as I already expected his short work to not do me like he does with his novels.
Lauren
Set in 1960s Norway, we follow Arvid, a young boy, in his daily life with family and his school. Brief glimpses of larger issues (family dramas, world history and looming nuclear threat), but told through the simple eyes of a child. An endearing and short read.
Courtney
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At times hilarious, at others desperately lonely, a lovely little book that proved a joy to read.
The Book Girl
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
"He held his hands to his face as if to keep his skin in place and for many nights he lay clutching his body, feeling time sweeping through it like little explosions. The palms of his hands were quivering and he tried to resist time and hold it back. But nothing helped, and with every pop, he felt himself getting older. he cried, and said to his mother: 'I don't want to get older. I want to stay like I am now! Six and a half, that's enough, isn't it?"

Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes is a swe
...more
Jim
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Petterson's simple straightforward and clear writing.
LA
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful childhood stories filled with humor and the everyday life of a boy.
Nelson Wattie
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short book of short stories was Per Petterson’s first publication in Norwegian, though not in English translation, where it followed some substantial novels. It might be thought of as apprenticeship work, but that would not be fair to the talent that could make these brief episodes ring with a multitude of sound and meaning. The stories are interconnected, chronologically following a small boy’s life, so that they are like fragments from a novel. Indeed, considering that fragmentation is a ...more
Kimbofo
Ashes in my Mouth, Sand in my Shoes, first published in 1987, was Norwegian writer Per Petterson’s first book, yet it was only translated in 2013. Like many other successful authors who write in languages that are not English, his books have been translated out of order. This means that for fans, like me, we have to read things out of chronological order. Not that it really matters: reading a Per Petterson novel is always a treat, regardless of when it was published, and this one is no exception ...more
Russell George
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of Per Peterson’s novels – though this is probably the length of a novella – and it reminded me again that he does childhood very well. Particularly an experience of childhood shadowed by uneasy adults who drink too much, and all the foreboding that that situation brings. Again, there’s no real story as such, but rather a series of episodes which gradually bring clarity to the family and the town they live in.
Julie M
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rob Quanbeck
Recommended to Julie by: HCLib
Great vignettes of a boyhood in 1960's Norway, told in 2nd person from "Arvid's" POV. This collection helped launch Petterson's literary career.
Beth
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this little novella, but ended up feeling pretty meh... about it. Luckily there is more Petterson to be read, this one just wasn't for me.
Eden Thompson
From my book blog www.JetBlackDragonfly.blogspot.com
Ashes In My Mouth, Sand In My Shoes is the first novel from Norwegian writer Per Petterson. In it, he introduces Arvid Jansen, a character he will continue to follow in subsequent books.

Eight year old Arvid and his family live in the small town of Veitvet in northern Norway; His Mum and his sister Gry, Uncle Rolf who worked in the toothbrush factory, and his Dad who worked in the shoe factory, which Arvid felt was clearly superior to stupid too
...more
John Hatley
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant! Having read several of Per Petterson's novels before now, I was lucky enough to find a used copy of his debut book, and I love it. Although described as a short-story collection, it could just as easily be a novel. Each chapter does indeed tell a story in its own right, but in the end, whether novel or collection of short stories, it is in my opinion a beautiful book. I can recommend it, regardless of the language you read it in. I really don't think that a bad translatio ...more
Claudia  -
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The joys and terrors of childhood

Being a child isn’t easy. Nightmares, fear of crocodiles, a run-in with a neighbour, being bullied and always trying to decode the perplexing behaviour of adults.
This is a beautiful short book of scenes from the childhood of Arvid Jansen set in Oslo in the 60s.

This is Petterson’s debut, introducing Arvid Jansen, whom we’ll meet again as an adult in the 2008 novel ‘I Curse the River of Time’.
It is written in Petterson’s beautiful, spare prose, sometimes hilarious,
...more
Pam
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really like this short collection of vignettes about young Arvid Jansen in 1960s Oslo. I look forward to reading more of this author's books about Arvid as a teen and an adult. The stories ring true and offer a glimpse into a boy's childhood, dealing with a variety of life topics - death, aging, war, sex, bullying, and family relations. The writing is great! There are no wasted words and the dialogue is believable. Fun stories that are easy to relate to. My only complaint is that I want more s ...more
Dain
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had super high expectations after reading "Out Stealing Horses" -- and this was a fascinating collection of short stories that were tied together and had a narrative arc. However, it lacked some of the wonder that "Horses" afforded.
Emily
So I read these backwards, I should have started here and ended with "I Curse the River of Time," regardless, Arvid grew on me as he got younger. I particularly enjoyed this set of stories set in post-war Norway, I'd say they're perfect for a cup of tea on a chilly afternoon.
AlexInWonderland
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tales from childhood
Norway
The '70s
Thoughtful, tender, & somewhat raw
Linda
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet book about childhood in Norway
Kati Polodna
Sort of reminded me of the Nick Adams stories.
Michelle
This is a slice of life novella of a young boy in 1950s or 1960s Norway. The prose is sparse, but I really enjoyed the stories.
Kirk Johnson
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories of a child trying to understand his place with his father and the world at large are, for the most part, little pieces of perfection.
Thecritic
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book about a six year old. Arvid Jansen. it's nice to see the world from his point of view
Abigail Munson
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so sweet
Angelo Insigne
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Expressive, emotional, and young. Greatly portrays innocence and simple thinking of young Arvid.
Kat
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016
What a fascinating little book! This is my first Per Petterson novel and I enjoyed it tremendously. Quick rambling reading (or listening as it was for me!) I loved the family dynamics and the Danish sense of self. (And, Arvid!)
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2017 Reading Chal...: If Beatrix Potter Wrote Books for Adults.... 1 15 Oct 13, 2015 08:07AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Vente på fuglen
  • Historien om Fru Berg
  • Kan jeg bli med deg hjem
  • Ambulanse
  • Snø vil falle over snø som har falt
  • Hudløs himmel
  • Leksikon om lys og mørke
  • Berge
  • Child Wonder
  • Replacements
  • Ikke forlat meg
  • En moderne familie
  • Kinderwhore
  • Morgon og kveld
  • Days in the History of Silence
  • القنفذ
  • Og været skiftet og det ble sommer og så videre
  • 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories
See similar books…
521 followers
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