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Out Stealing Horses

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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 one of 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 would turn out to be different. What began as a joy ride on “borrowed” horses ends with Jon falling into a strange trance of grief. Trond soon learns what befell Jon earlier that day—an incident that marks the beginning of a series of vital losses for both boys.

Set in the easternmost region of Norway, Out Stealing Horses begins with an ending. Sixty-seven-year-old Trond has settled into a rustic cabin in an isolated area to live the rest of his life with a quiet deliberation. A meeting with his only neighbor, however, forces him to reflect on that fateful summer.

258 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Per Petterson

36 books724 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 also trained as a librarian, and worked as a bookseller.
In 1990, the year following the publication of his first novel, Pettersen's family was struck by tragedy - his mother, father, brother and nephew were killed in a fire onboard a ferry.
His third novel Til Sibir (To Siberia) was nominated for The Nordic Council's Literature Prize, and his fourth novel I kjølvannet (In the Wake), which is a young man's story of losing his family in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster in 1990, won the Brage Prize for 2000.
His breakthrough, however, was Ut og stjæle hester (Out Stealing Horses) which was awarded two top literary prizes in Norway - the The Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature and the Booksellers’ Best Book of the Year Award.


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5 stars
8,959 (26%)
4 stars
13,651 (39%)
3 stars
8,252 (24%)
2 stars
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835 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,557 reviews
Profile Image for Mark.
1,099 reviews138 followers
August 17, 2015
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 15 and sharing a cabin with his father for the last time.

The book in many ways reminds me of a palimpsest, because at several turns, it will reveal yet another critical story that underlies the ones that came before.

The novel opens with a tragedy that befalls the narrator's best friend in that long-ago summer, and it seems that will become the fulcrum of the plot -- but it turns out only to be a tangential part of the story. Unbeknownst to the boy, this event will deeply affect his relationship with his father, and it is only as time goes on that he will learn his father's full history and how his friend's crisis fits into that larger picture, which includes the revelation that his father had been an operative for the Norwegian resistance during World War II.

Although the book is steeped in melancholy, it is also laced throughout with moments of joy and a deep appetite for life, much of which is embodied in stories of simple chores and heroic physical challenges in the deep woods.

I'm tempted to say that, in the end, I was disappointed because this novel is just so .... Scandinavian ... particularly in the way the characters say almost nothing that reveals their deep feelings and motives to each other, so that the reader has to infer all of that from their actions, whether noble or petty.

But this may be a more universal story of how men particularly have trouble expressing their feelings in words, or even wanting to share those emotions with the people they love most. And frankly, I ended by feeling angry at the boy's father, even though I can't explain why without revealing a critical part of the plot.

One of the ironies of "Out Stealing Horses" is that the narrator's favorite author is Dickens, who explores his characters' personalities in great detail and always resolves everything for the better at the end of most of his novels. Petterson does neither. He suggests; he sketches; and he leaves us to infer the motives and deepest wellsprings of his characters' lives.

And yet, there is much to love about his writing and his storytelling. At one point, the narrator says that if you tell people some facts about your life, they think they know you, because they construct a story in their minds to flesh out those facts -- and yet they don't really have any idea who you are; only you do, deep inside yourself. That passage not only epitomizes the character; it serves as advice, or a warning, for readers who want to make sense of the people in this story.
Profile Image for Candi.
614 reviews4,644 followers
July 20, 2019
"I believe we shape our lives ourselves, at any rate I have shaped mine, for what it’s worth, and I take complete responsibility. But of all the places I might have moved to, I had to land up precisely here."

I’m a sucker for these self-reflective sort of novels where the narrator looks back on his or her life and we as readers have the opportunity to make that journey as well. I’m also crazy about subtle language that in its simplicity still manages to deliver a powerful punch to the reader’s gut. Author Per Petterson sure seems to have a gift, and I adored the writing in this gorgeous piece of Scandinavian literature.

Trond Sander, now in the twilight of his years at the age of sixty-seven, has decided to move into a small house in eastern Norway where he plans to live out his days in isolation. An unexpected encounter with another man triggers a flood of memories from Trond’s past. The story alternates between the end of the millennium to 1948, where at the age of fifteen he spent the summer living in a cabin with his father during tree-felling season. In some ways, this is a coming of age tale, though by no means is it a young adult story. There perhaps comes a time in our lives when we recognize the fact that our parents are not perfect human beings. What do we do with this information? There are exquisite passages about regret, grief, bitterness, sensual desire, abandonment, friendship, and aging.

"Time is important to me now, I tell myself. Not that it should pass quickly or slowly, but be only time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divide it up by, so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I am not looking."

This novel also beautifully illustrates the link between individuals and the natural world. The feeling of vitality that working with the land and the river can instill in a person is juxtaposed with the apprehension of facing a harsh winter alone. It is the summer of one’s youth when so much lies ahead, and the winter of one’s maturity where all that seems to remain are the memories.

"And when someone says the past is a foreign country, that they do things differently there, then I have probably felt that way for most of my life because I have been obliged to, but I am not anymore. If I just concentrate I can walk into memory’s store and find the right shelf with the right film and disappear into it and still feel in my body that ride through the forest with my father…"

This is a book you cannot read for the plot, or you may be disappointed. Much of what happens occurred in the past, and although it is weighty stuff, the story is not propelled by the action. Instead it is driven by the reflections of how those things affected not just one person, but a string of persons. How an act reverberates across people and over a length of time. Much like one tree felled by a swift strike by the ax will echo throughout the entire forest.

The more I think about this book, the more I realize just how affecting it really is. I read this at a time when life is becoming extremely hectic, changes lie ahead, hopefully all for the best. I was happy to sit with a quiet novel that made me think. Actually, I loved this.

"… I have nothing against the face in the mirror. I acknowledge it, I recognize myself. I cannot ask for more."
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,296 reviews120k followers
December 3, 2020
What do we see when we look back over our lives. Are we the hero of our own story? Looking into that mirror, can we really see ourselves, or is our view doomed to be perpetually blocked, offering maybe a Maigret image of only the backs of our heads?

A man, 67, Trond, lives alone in a small house by a lake in east Norway and contemplates his past. We travel back and forth between the present, 1999, and 1948 when he was a fifteen-year-old, living with his father in a summer place. The events of that summer defined his life in many ways. This is his coming of age story.

Per Petterson - image from NPR

I was very much of two minds about this book. For the first half, maybe two thirds, I loved it, thought it might be a masterpiece. There is a rich store of allusion here, imagery that fills, language that offers structure and beauty in support of its aims, story-telling craft that (mostly) worked very well. But I found that the back third left me

If I could I would have given it 3.5 stars.

There are events in the story that call for some more drama in how Trond reacts, yet he often seems incapable. Maybe that was the author’s intent. I don’t know, but I found it unsatisfying. Too many questions were left up in the air for my comfort. The book made me wonder, though, if the author’s great gifts have been put to more satisfying use in other works.

I was impressed with how Petterson modulated the pace and tone of his words. I loved the sparse, clipped sentences that open the book.

"Early November. It’s nine o’clock. The titmice are banging against the window….There is a reddish light over the trees by the lake. It is starting to blow."

This reflects well the starkness of the character, how his life is as stripped down as the words.

Petterson’s style grows appropriately breathless when painting a haying scene:

"As the wire gradually unrolled it became easier, but by then I was that much more exhausted, and there was suddenly an opposition to everything that was physical and I grew mad and did not want anyone there to see I was such a city boy, particularly while Jon’s mother was looking at me with that blinding blue gaze of hers. I’d make up my own mind when it would hurt, and if it should show or not, and I pushed the pain down into my body so my face would not gibe me away, and with arms raised I unrolled the reel and the wire ran out until I came to the end of the meadow, and there I put the reel down in the short stubble of the newly mown grass, the wire taut, all as calmly as I could and just as calmly straightened up and pushed my hands into my pockets and let my shoulders sink down."

There are many references that add a feeling of substance and connection to the work, references to Dickens, Oedipus, Maigret, the River Styx. Petterson likes to mirror events and images. Being run off the road is used several times, crossing the river (Styx?) from one life to another, several watery baptisms. But while the imagery satisfies the thinness of Trond leaves one wanting something more.

Review last posted - November, 2016

First Published - January, 2003
Profile Image for Julie G .
884 reviews2,754 followers
June 21, 2017
What in the hell just happened here? What in the hell?

I am completely flummoxed by my own reaction to this book.

So, quick back story on this. . . About 3 years ago, I was hiding out in the kitchen at a neighbor's New Year's Eve party. My husband had become trapped against the wall in the den, stuck in a conversation with several other men, forced to listen to a man give the play-by-play on how he had just tiled his floors. I saw that I couldn't save my spouse, so I had slipped into the kitchen unseen and quickly discovered the best bottle of Pinot Noir I've ever had in my life. Moments later, another woman entered the kitchen with a declaration of “Bloody hell!” so I poured her a glass of the precious wine. Naturally, she took a seat.

When I asked her the question that I ask of all normal-appearing strangers, “What are your top 5 books of all time?” she surprised me by answering, “I have only one book that I remember, Out Stealing Horses. It's like the best book I've ever read in my life.”

Out Stealing Horses? Turns out it's a book written by a Norwegian author, translated nicely into English, and I recently found a copy at a thrift store.

So, I started reading the book this week, and I was almost cursing the woman from the kitchen. What in the hell? The beginning (like almost the entire first part) was totally WEIRD. There is almost ZERO character development and the story is dominated by one-dimensional male characters. Only three women appear in the entire novel, and they might as well be pet turtles or lizards, they are so woefully unformed. I can't even say I EVER understood the protagonist or could predict what he would do in a particular scenario.

And, did I mention that dialogue is almost non-existent and is comprised of mostly a whole lot of “Yeps” and “Nopes?”

Oh, and may I add that it contains possibly the MOST awkward “nude scene” I've ever encountered? Oh yes, there is a rain storm, and the grown father and the almost grown son strip off all of their clothes, lather up their bodies with soap and then perform handstands together in the rain. For a while. I've never thought more about male genitalia than I did during this scene. Personally, I've come to think of it as a “torture scene.”

And let me cap off this part of my review by telling you that many, MANY paragraphs are filled with very BORING descriptions of cutting down and hauling trees.

Soooo many things are wrong here. Soooo many “kisses of death” exist here for me as a reader.

And yet.

And yet, despite all of these issues, this book contains some of the deepest, heart-achingly beautiful descriptions of aging and longing and abandonment and joy and regrets. I feel like I'd need to read it at least two more times to grasp what is really, really wonderful here.

It's a story of an aging man and his dog (who is better written than almost all of the humans), and, in the end, it knocked me out. KNOCKED ME OUT. And here I am, giving this weird book five stars.
Profile Image for Dolors.
527 reviews2,217 followers
September 21, 2019
This is a story of growth, of a boy who becomes an adult in an isolated rural region of Norway, close to the Swedish border, in the course of one summer.
But this is also a story of decline, of an old man who revisits the countryside where he last saw his father in 1948, expecting to capture the blinding light of indifferent nature, the flashing clarity of unhurried memories, the physical vigor that pumped up his young body more than sixty years ago before the clock of his worn-out life ticks out.

Two stories and a single first-person narrator, at first separated by the unbridgeable abyss of time, end up converging in a tapestry of revelations and silences that bespeak of the invisible threads that weave fate and chance, choice and serendipity together.
In Petterson’s world there is no place for far-fetched coincidences, everything that happens in the life of his characters is a direct result of their actions in a specific moment in time.
A family man falls in love with a married woman who shares his political ideals in wartime, when people got murdered if they were on the wrong side.
Five years later, a boy on the brim of adulthood who idolatrizes his father, discovers eroticism, betrayal and death all at once, resulting in premature responsibility for actions that were beyond his control.
An abandoned son faces two forked paths that will determine the man he is going to become in a future seared by the incommensurable absence of his father. Meanwhile, the very same forest that saw him blossom with life in summertime, witnesses the gradual decrease of his energy when the bucolic landscape is covered in snowdrift during his last winter.

The power of this book remains in what is left unsaid, in the minimalistic poetry of concentrated meaning, in the slow-moving pace that leaves one breathless, wanting to absorb the magnetic pull of every disclosed thought, be it of immense happiness or unbearable sorrow.
A number of recurrent sentences and imagery is used in different contexts to provide a delicate map of motifs that infuse the story with a cyclical undercurrent that recalls the passing seasons of the protagonist’s life that is now setting in wintry stillness.
Out stealing horses is a weightless ode to letting go of versions we could have been to embrace the truths that shaped the persons we are. Petterson’s clear-sighted prose is a journey back in time to make peace with the past and reconcile the present to the intensity of silence and light, which if rightly combined, can produce the most harmonious sound.
My first by this author, it won’t be the last.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,296 reviews35k followers
May 30, 2017
The book that began with an ending, ended up winning me over. If you look back on your life what will you see? Will you be happy with your relationships? Will you be proud of your actions? Will you be haunted by past events that forever changed your life. Actions have consequences. How do consequences affect a person for life?

I read this book when it first came out with my book club and it blew me away in a very quiet subtle way. Par Peterson is an award winning Norwegian writer who introduces us to 67 year old Trond Sander who is living an isolated lifestyle. He lives in a rustic cabin and is determined to spend the rest of his life living in virtual isolation. His second wife has died and he has forgotten/neglected to tell his adult daughters his whereabouts. He has a meeting with one of his neighbors - someone from his past - and that meeting causes him to reflect back on his life. He specifically looks back at the summer of 1948 when he was living in a cabin with his father.

One day Trond's friend Jon shows up and asks him to go on an adventure with him. An adventure which begins with going for a ride on "borrowed" horses and ends in tragedy. A loaded gun tragically changes the lives of not just the teens but their families as well. Initially, I thought this tragedy would be what transforms this man's life but it was only the catalyst. Young Trond learns that there is more to his father then he initially thought. This book is about relationships and how we view our relationships and the "truths" we learn about our relationships and those we are in a relationship with. Whew!

One death destroys already damaged relationships. Relationships that have been previously damaged by activities during wartime. A time War ravaged the world. A time when a teen learns about his father's involvement during the Norwegian resistance during the war. A time when a man falls in love with a married woman. A time when a young man learns about the harsh realities of life, when you learn your parents have faults and aren't everything you think they are. A time when people disappear from our lives and an abandoned teen is faced with life altering decisions.

This book goes back and forth between the present time (1999) and 1948. There is such eloquence and beauty in the storytelling of this novel. The Author shows us Trond's adolescent and adult interpretations of the events of his life. I have used the word "subtle" a lot in this review, but I can't think of a better word to sum of the beauty of this book - it is subtle. Minimalistic is a word often used while describing this book as well.

Trond experiences strong emotions but has difficulty or is perhaps resistant to expressing those emotions. Petterson allows the reader to make interpretations to those emotions. He shows us a man, we see his loses, his pain, his suffering but yet do we truly know him? I find myself recommending this book over and over again. This book is not a BIG book but it is a powerful one. I love books that cause me to think and feel. I also love books where the environment/landscape is also just as much as character as the "living" ones in the book. This book was not only beautifully translated into English, it is beautifully melancholy - just as melancholy as Trond himself. This book is about love, acceptance, loss, secrets, regrets, decisions, tragedy, lust, yearning, and growth.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
December 31, 2015
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 language, which to me is the most beautiful in the world, even though I do not speak it particularly well. "You could have taken a bookmark from the pile, we have any number of them," my girlfriend says, and, full of remorse, I look on top of the bookcase in the corner of the kitchen and there are indeed several bookmarks diagonally over from the shelf where she has stacked the small frying pans, which must never be put in the dishwasher or scrubbed using a brush but only wiped gently with a soft cloth, and I choose a marker with a picture of Les jumeaux, the heavenly twins, that I remember buying last year at Percho, the artist's studio in Carouge, when the owner had told us shyly that she had just finished a major commission, a life-size ceramic cow which would stand outside the entrance to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel; and next time we visited the hotel to meet our Russian friend K, the cow was indeed there, in the bright naivist colors which Percho always uses, and I gave it a nod of recognition before we went in and ordered tea, which they bring with considerable ceremony in glass teapots over little spirit flames but always forget the milk, an astonishing omission for what is supposed to be a five-star establishment.

Now, on the last day of 2015, I slide the laminated bookmark between the pages at the end of a chapter, for the book is so densely textured that I can only read one chapter at a time, and I think about how to review it, to convey to others its unusual charm, but I see there is no way, I can only talk about things and people, so I decide to do that, I read the final chapter and write down the text that has been quietly growing in my mind as I progressed through the book, almost without my realizing, and I post it and wish all my online friends a very happy New Year, it will have to be enough.
Profile Image for Chris.
79 reviews31 followers
November 19, 2013
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.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,272 followers
November 5, 2019
”Early November. It’s nine o’clock. The titmice are banging against the window. Sometimes they fly dizzily off after the impact, other times they fall and lie struggling in the new snow until they can take off again.”

”I live here now, in a small house in the far east of Norway. A river flows into the lake. It is not much of a river, and it gets shallow in the summer, but in the spring and autumn it runs briskly, and there are trout in it…I can just see it from my window once the birch leaves have fallen.

It is here that Trond Sander finds the solitude, the peace and quiet he’s been longing for with Lyra, his dog. It is here, as well, that he comes to realize that with solitude comes reflection, introspection. In his case, rumination of nearly seventy years, a lifetime of memories. Some good, some haunting.

The year he was fifteen, an incident occurred that returns to him, a friend’s life forever changed, and the aftermath affected them all. Ripples of grief and guilt, affect them both, and their families draw even closer together. It is this incident that has wormed its way back into his mind, reminding him of that summer, the summer he worked, moving lumber along the river.

Spare, deliberate, haunting prose moves this story along quietly with a sense of this man seeking a sense of peace with this past, to accept the losses that come along with a life lived, to come to terms with secrets, affections withheld, all of the injustices, real or perceived. And while the memories once belonged to the boy, the man he has become shares this past, these moments of reminiscence with the wisdom gained through the years.

”That part of my life when I could turn the dreams to some use is behind me now. I am not going to change anything any more.”

”If I just concentrate I can walk into memory’s store and find the right shelf with the right film and disappear into it and still feel in my body that ride through the forest with my father…”

Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,385 reviews2,257 followers
September 26, 2017
“That part of my life when I could turn the dreams to some use is behind me now. I am not going to change anything anymore.”

Out Stealing Horses is a pure, poignant and luminous story that feels out of place in this modern and cluttered world. It's a simple tale that doesn't do anything fancy, and had the feel of both being radiant like the sun high up in the sky and the echoing sadness of a dry riverbed. Petterson effectively catches hold and haunts with the one thing we all ponder on from time to time, the knowledge of just how fragile life can be.

Trond Sander is a 67 year old man who has relocated to rural Norway with just his dog Lyra, to live out a simple life away from the rest of civilization. He is lonely and withdrawn,
and seemingly the dark trees from the isolated forest close by are his only friends. But it appears he is perfectly content with his sparse existence, with only painful and bittersweet memories to keep him company at night. His wife's face, only three years buried is starting to disappear, but after a stranger approaches one day, for Trond, the year of 1948 is brought back to life with vivid clarity, as if it happened yesterday. He realizes that the stranger, is someone from his childhood, Lars, the brother of his once good friend Jon. This is the catalyst for the extended voyage Trond embarks on in his mind, as it's memory that comprises the bulk of the story.

In an inspired move, Petterson emphasizes Trond’s alienation from the surrounding world through repeated references to film. Though an avid reader in the present, Trond spent his childhood watching movies, and so in a temporally counterintuitive conceit, the great books of the past fill his present and references to film evoke his past. It is fitting that Trond, living as a recluse, intentionally having cordoned himself off from the great mass of humanity, should find greater solace in the words of dead men than in the most pervasive art form of the present day. The world, as he knows it today, means nothing.

The melancholy aroused by Trond’s memories stems not only from his father’s disappearance after the second world war, but from the calamity of carefree childhood games, a tragic accident that altered his youth, and an incident involving his father and Jon's mother by the river. And petterson utilizes nature and the landscapes with a such a sharp eye similar to that of Cormac McCarthy. The prose is on the whole breathtaking. With only childhood memories to sift through, Trond can barely begin to appreciate who his father was and why he abandoned his family. The resulting resentment, simmering yet unarticulated, hangs over Trond’s life, and in the greatest tragedy in a novel filled with them, infects his relationships with his own children, who he is not bothered about, as Petterson achingly portrays with a second intrusion into Trond’s solitary life, when one of his daughters turns up out of the blue.

For a novel so focused on childhood memories, Out Stealing Horses admirably avoids sentimentality. The pleasant moments from Trond’s past, generally spent in the company of his father, are always depicted with an appropriately restrained degree of mirth and yearning. And to a degree his feeling for Jon's mother invaded and imbalanced his purist thoughts. Likewise, even when describing the death of a young child, Petterson eschews excessive emotion and relates both the incident and its aftermath with steely calm. And quite clearly apart from horse riding which adds a gallop, and one tense moment involving an explosion, there is a blanket of calmness within. The narrative never gets out of first gear, but then it doesn't need to, and all the better for it.

Having grappled with the mysteries of his youth, whilst stuck in a lackluster present, I was glad to see the final closing pages remain with Trond's childhood, a day out with his mother, which could have turned out to be one of his happiest. The novel works so well as a tragic account of a disrupted childhood, a haunting illustration of both the liberating and paralyzing effects of memory, and, yet, at times could even be seen as a semi-engaging adventure story, simply because of the vast open
landscapes of it's setting.

This was my first outing in the company of Petterson, more will certainly follow. Felt like taking of a blindfold and staring across the fjord, at it's simplistic beauty and beholding power.
Profile Image for Mohammad Hrabal.
272 reviews185 followers
September 20, 2022
کتاب را بخوانید و فیلم اقتباسی خوب آن را هم، از هانس پتر مولند ببینید. ********************************************************************
هیچ‌چیز نمی‌تواند با سبک‌بالی و رهایی جسم به مقابله برخیزد؛ نه ارتفاعات نامحدود، نه فاصله‌های بی‌حد و حصر. چرا که این‌ها ویژگی تاریکی نیستند، بلکه فقط فضاهایی لایتناهی اند که در درون پیموده می‌شوند. صفحه ۱۴ کتاب
مردم دوست دارند بخش‌های درخوری از تجربیاتت را فروتنانه و با لحن صمیمی با آن‌ها در میان بگذاری، آن‌ها فکر می‌کنند این‌طوری می‌ت��انند تو را بشناسند، اما نمی‌توانند، فقط با این حرف‌ها کمی بیشتر درباره ات می‌فهمند چون چیزهایی را که برایشان فاش می‌کنی بخشی از حقایق زندگی تو اند نه احساساتت، نه عقایدت، نه توصیف چگونگی اتفاقی که برایت افتاده، نه تحلیل این ‌که تصمیماتی که گرفته‌ای چگونه تو را به آدمی که الان هستی تبدیل کرده‌اند. صفحه ۷۰ کتاب
از خودم می‌پرسم یعنی تنها زیستن به مدت طولانی آدم را به اینجا می‌رساند؟ این‌که وسط فکر کردن یکهو شروع می‌کنی به حرف زدن با صدای بلند، این‌که تفاوت میان حرف زدن و حرف نزدن به ‌تدریج از بین می‌رود، این‌که گفت ‌و گوی پایان‌ناپذیر درونی‌ای که همیشه با خودمان داریم با گفت ‌و گویمان با معدود افرادی که هنوز می‌بینیمشان درهم می‌آمیزد و زمانی‌که تنها زندگی می‌کنی مرز میان این‌ها از نظر ناپدید می‌شود و تو نمی‌دانی کی از آن مرز گذشته‌ای؟ یعنی آینده من هم همین ‌طور خواهد بود؟ صفحه ۱۴۹ کتاب
Profile Image for Robin.
485 reviews2,626 followers
December 18, 2017
With the use of stark, simple language, Norwegian author Per Petterson tells the complex story of a summer that brings about a coming of age for 15 year old Trond, seen through his 67 year old eyes. This language suits the setting perfectly - aging Trond has retreated to a cabin in remote wilderness, to a very simple life (he doesn't own a phone and not even his children know where he is). But, while he may have simplified his landscape, all the messiness of his interior life comes with him, especially when he discovers his neighbour is someone from his past, during a pivotal time in his youth.

Petterson employs gorgeous contrasts: youth and age, the blistering heat of summer and the dead quiet brought by heavy snow of winter, innocence and experience. There's an unsentimental tone, and a refusal on the part of the author to spell everything out for the reader. There are pulsing, visceral scenes, (such as the early morning horse-stealing one) and a celebration of nature and animals.

There are also lengthy scenes of tree cutting and wood stacking, which slowed down the story significantly. And an awkward father/son nude scene that I had been prepared for (thank you, Julie), but still will never quite be able to erase from my mind. There are also holes in the plot which are never explained, and I'm not too sure if that entirely worked for me.

But mainly, this quiet, artful story tells of a young man who over the course of a summer, is changed forever. He sees his father for the first time as a flawed adult. He deals with heartbreaking abandonment, which imprints and affects him in a lifelong, generational way. He learns the tough lesson - we do decide for ourselves when it will hurt - but maybe we don't decide for how long.
Profile Image for Hanneke.
326 reviews325 followers
October 12, 2020
An impressive novel about the fragility of memories and the aching feeling of loss which can haunt us throughout our lives. The novel is written in steadily clipped sentences full of poetical images, melancholy and wonderful descriptions of natural beauty. I simply loved it. A novel which cannot be praised enough!
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,549 reviews1,824 followers
December 16, 2019
The evocative title lured me into buying this book. It starts out as your typical autumn recalls the beginning of Summer type story as an older man, settling into a basic cottage by a lake in search of solitude (plainly a hard task, but someone has to do it) in southern Norway, hard by the border with Sweden, recalls his youth in the same area. Some sexual tension as he recalls watching the deft fingered milkmaid at her work and the faded cotton dress clinging to the woman sweating as she is out helping a bunch of men and the narrator fell a stand of timber. Then abruptly with the turn of a page we are in to another world. We're in the war, the narrator's father was involved in the resistance, couriering documents in and out of neutral Sweden. The thing about war is that it shifts relationships, particularly in these civil conflicts when there is an element of collaboration as well as resistance and after the war the narrator's family is abruptly broken up by a letter from the father declaring that he won't come home again but has left a sum of money in a country bank for his wife to collect from Sweden. This is a reflective book, in which the reader constructs the story as far as they can in their imagination, beyond the basic facts as above it is open to much interpretation.

An excellent novel about chainsawing birch trees and decisions as mappable points in a life and deciding when something should hurt or not - in the narrator's case about forty years after the event. Very evocative, particularly about that way in which journeying to certain places literally takes us back into the past, something which I felt particularly strongly as a child when I was taken to my great grandfather's house and sat below his ticking clock until I might be allowed to clamber off and admire the half-wild cat (a fierce-some beast) in the garden or the panes of glass in his attic (left there since he had retired), or the empty pig stalls and generally the museum of a life left over from an earlier age .
Profile Image for Anna.
Author 3 books185 followers
June 27, 2008
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.

It's the story of a man who, growing older and having suffered a terrible loss, retreats to an old cabin in the country. He tells no one where he's going, not even his daughters, who he loves, and not because he didn't want them to know, exactly, he just didn't think of it. The old cabin needs a great deal of work, especially as winter comes, and Trond welcomes it. He has a few neighbors, a dog, his Dickens novels, and it is in the middle of the night that he encounters one of those neighbors and comes to realize that this man was a child he'd known, a child from a family that figured meaningfully into his life during the summer of 1948, when he'd been a teenager. This was the summer the child had instigated a wrenching accident. This was the summer that Trond, who was staying with his father in rural Norway, first met the mysteries that would obsess him (and us readers) for his life.

This is a wonderful book, and I love it.

See for yourself:

"I could have paid a carpenter, I am far from skint,but then it would have gone too fast. I want to use the time it takes. Time is important tome now, I tell myself. Not that it should pass quickly or slowly, but be only time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divide it up by, so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I am not looking."

I am particular impressed with how Petterson manages work in the novel: through physical tasks, the push-and-pull of the body as it cuts and mends and builds in the natural world, Petterson's reticent characters engage with one another and meet the sort of companionship that satisfies them best.

And time: Petterson's collage of chronology plays like a human memory, feeding on associations and surprising juxtapositions, making the familiar revelatory. It is crafted of many long lines and leaps of moodiness and knowing. There is suspense and mystery in Out Stealing Horses--but it hardly moves like a step-by-step thriller; Petterson performs the writerly miracle of making mysterious what we already know has happened. And that "what" that has happened isn't itself easily defined, even as I can feel it's wait. It's rather like someone asked me "what" has happened in my life. I couldn't tell you. But I feel it's weight.

In my own writing, I've felt challenged by writing a first-person narrator who is a quiet sort, inwardly-directed, hardly the sort to ramble on in any kind monologue, internal or not. Petterson shows how it can be done.

See for yourself:

"I picked up the jug and poured a little milk into my cup. That made the coffee smoother and more like the light and not so strong, and I shut my eyes into a squint and looked across the water flowing past below the window, shining and glittering like a thousand stars, like the Milky Way could sometimes do in the autumn rushing foamingly on and winding through the night in an endless stream, and you could lie out there beside the fjord at home in the vast darkness with your back against the hard sloping rock gazing up until your eyes hurt, feeling the weight of the universe in all its immensity press down on your chest until you could scarcely breathe or on the contrary be lifted up and simply float away like a mere speck of human flesh in a limitless vacuum, never to return. Just thinking about it could make you vanish a little."

This is the first Per Petterson book I've read. Hell, it's the first Norweigan book I've read, and many thanks to the Anne Born, the translator, and last year's Reading the World, which first brought it to my attention, for getting it into my hands.

I'm hardly the only one who's noticed its worth: it's string of glowing reviews and honors include being one of the ten New York Times Book Review's 'notable books of the year,' the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Norweigan Critics Prize, and so on. While I'm late to the wagon, it seems Europeans have been big fans of Petterson's writing for years.

Is it worth all that? See for yourself.
November 28, 2019
Trond is a 15-year-old boy, living in Norway in 1948, and begins his story as the second world war draws to an end. The imagery and atmosphere of Norway were delightfully drawn and the expanse of the landscape was brought to life. The logging activities of his father were told with a level of detail and surroundings that I could totally imagine how the rivers played their part in transporting the tree trunks over distances and how bottlenecks of logs arose.

Trond also narrates the story as a 67-year-old man living alone in a secluded cabin with only one neighbour. The isolation sits over this part of his life with the acceptance that its Trond's choice to remove himself for a busy community and sink further into solitude. The writing very cleverly delivers a multi-textured portrait of a man who intensely analyses, probably overly so, every situation, from should he return a hug to what a certain glance meant, to decisions that have a dramatic impact on his life. He does this during both time periods but you can see how he has settled into that way of life as an older man.

You feel he’s on the social interaction autism scale and slightly emotionless, but you can’t help it stirring emotions in you as you read. As a young man, the feeling is one of awkwardness and hope that he can breakdown his limitations of engagement. As an older man, the reclusive lifestyle and reservations dealing with others, even with his own daughter, are heartfelt and stir pity.

The personal narration from Trond, who wants to live alone, gives an insight into a mind that is reflecting on his past and constantly analysing everything in the present. The writing very cleverly flows with this transition as within paragraphs you can seamlessly be in a different time, as his mind drifts.
"You wonder whether that is how we get to be after living alone for a long time, that in the middle of a train of thought we start talking out loud, that the difference between talking and not talking is slowly wiped out".
I read the book feeling a slight sense of humour and a sense of innocence. Trond is a very endearing person where you know, how he sees the world, and how the world sees him, do not align. It is a well-balanced story with incidents that are fun and jovial, and there are tragic events that he deals with from his family, his friend, his father and his neighbours.

I would recommend this book for its characterisation, relationships and observing Trond's interaction with the world and the people in it. There will be a lot of considerations and discussions about what in particular certain relationships meant and the novel comes to an end with you playing over different scenarios and analysis in your mind.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,244 reviews534 followers
September 7, 2022
9/07/2022: my second reading of Out Stealing Horses really cements my earlier feelings. There is so much sadness here: childhood losses never truly dealt with, trusts broken, behaviors repeated from generation to generation. But also wonderful prose in translation.

In this reading, I did not feel the lack of knowledge of Trond’s middle years as I did before. The skeleton of information here is enough for me to glean the type of family man he was and was not. He is his father’s son, but was that inevitable? Isn’t he just as much his mother’s?


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 reading and feelings.

There is a deep sadness about the book in spite of the moments of joy. I definitely will re-read this book to feel it again and experience Trond's life again. I too wish we knew a bit more about those middle years of his life but would I feel the same about this book and Trond if all was filled in? Trond seems to have given us the central mysteries of his life.
Profile Image for William2.
746 reviews2,969 followers
December 16, 2019
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 Ernest 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 daughters, are grown. His way of life is stoic, in the purest sense: plain food, water, basic shelter and clothing, and a closeness to nature instilled in him during a summer in the region in 1948. The narrative flashes effortlessly between that glorious coming of age summer and the present day. In some sense the two eras impinge on each other, refract each other, in fascinating ways. It is not a written document we read but rather the very orderly thoughts of a man moved to what he thinks of as his final lodging. He is happy to be back in the natural world after a long spell in Oslo where he raised a family, owned a firm of some kind. The landscape is a big part of the story and it is always beautifully integrated with the action. Nothing seems extraneous. The translation works by way of the comma splice, leaving the period for stronger impact. As Virginia Woolf said somewhere in her essays, I paraphrase, writing is all about rhythm. Well, we certainly get that sense here. The language is sinuous and lean and perfectly freighted; that is to say, it seems neither overly nor under burdened by detail. Other comments here have everything you need to know about plot. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Annemarie.
249 reviews686 followers
September 5, 2018
Actual rating: 3.5 🌟's

It's hard for me to write an actual review for this book. My reading experience was great, I had a good time and the writing style was just divine. However, somehow something was just missing...There were some super interesting things happening in the beginning, but unfortunately, these situations weren't explored further, even though they made a huge impact on all the characters. The topics that were then deeper delved into were...well, interesting as well, I guess, but I just couldn't bring myself to care about that all too much, because the big thing that happened in the beginning was always in the back of my mind. I was hoping and expecting for the trauma of that event to come back, but it just never came...

In the end, I'm not sure what I got from this novel. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, I probably would, because the writing style was so amazing, and I can imagine that others might enjoy the direction the story went into more than I did. But I personally just don't feel like I "gained" something from it, and I'm left feeling like I missed the point...
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,304 reviews298 followers
May 14, 2023
Чудесен е този кратък роман от Пер Петершон, препоръчвам го силно!

Книга за съзряването, за загубите и за това, как всеки трябва да се справя и то най-често сам, с изпитанията в живота си.

Норвежците са особени, вглъбени в себе си люде, но под студените им физиономии всъщност се крият нормални и топли души.

Моята оценка - 4,5*.


"А и нали ние сами решаваме, кога да боли."

P.S. И поредната серия от "език мой, враг мой". Редактор и коректор не са виждали тази книга, за съжаление.

Кравите живеят в обор, не в кошара, а немския часовой едва ли носи преметната през рамото си лека картечница ( да никак не е лека, има десетина кила поне, с патроните стават още няколко), а вероятно шмайзер. Крета на български е Крит и прочие...

Съгласен съм - дреболии са, но никой автор не заслужава така да замацват чудесната му проза. Отделно, мен лично такава немарливост ме вбесява доста!
Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
618 reviews338 followers
June 12, 2019
3.5 🐎 🐎 🐎
This is one I want to use the two level scoring method for. There's the writing and then the story. The first gets a 5 and the latter a 3. It's less is more storytelling that you must pay attention to because blink and you've missed it.
Trond a 67 year old man has made the decision to live a minimalist lifestyle in isolation in rural Norway. He's not told anyone where he is and has no phone. Back from a walk he is surprised to see his daughter has tracked him down and come to visit. A while later she asks him
"Would you rather I hadn't come?"
"I don't know" he replies.
That's how I feel about Trond. Did I like him and his story? I don't know. I'm usually a great fan of minimalism but in this case I wanted more and was left feeling, well, isolated. The thing is Trond could care less I'm sure.
Profile Image for Bianca.
1,047 reviews902 followers
June 18, 2020
Out Stealing Horses doesn't have much of a plot, but I didn't mind it in the least.
It's a very atmospheric novel. Petterson's writing, while relatively unadorned, managed to conjure vivid images of the landscape, the seasons, the rural and the city environments.
Certain events affect and shape us, and, possibly, alter our life's trajectory.
Sixty-seven-year-old Trond Sander, the narrator of this novel, reminisces about the summer of 1948, when his father disappeared from his life. The puzzle of that summer is still not completed five decades later.

This was a good little literary fiction novel, worth checking out.

Profile Image for بثينة العيسى.
Author 22 books25.4k followers
December 12, 2016
رواية أنيقة، مثل لوحة بديعة تتحرك بحذر بين الضوء والظل، بين ما يقال صراحة وما يتجاوزه الراوي عمدًا. أحببت اشتغاله على مناطق الصمت وقدرته العالية على القبض على "صوت الطفل" المفعم بالتساؤل والجوع إلى الفهم والاتساع.

هناك أيضا الحضور الغامر للمكان بشكل حسّي وحي.
أنت فقط تقرر متى تتوجع.
Profile Image for Joy D.
1,902 reviews220 followers
April 24, 2020
In 1999, sixty-seven-year-old protagonist Trond lives with his dog in a small house near a river in rural eastern Norway. He is still grieving the loss of his wife, has retired from his business in Oslo, and desires to lead a solitary life. The present story alternates with recollections of 1948, when he and his father spent the summer at a cabin near the border of Norway and Sweden. Parts of the story refer to his father’s involvement in the Norwegian resistance in WWII.

This is a contemplative novel about choices we make in life and their ramifications. It is a story about fathers and sons and coming to terms with trauma. It contains beautiful descriptions of nature. The prose is surprisingly spare for the amount of emotional content it conveys. There is little action, but the few action-oriented scenes are impactful. It is an introspective story of a stoic man who seems to be emulating his father without realizing it. I could sense Trond’s longing for peace, as he sifts through his memories. The resolution leaves many questions unanswered. I found it poignant and memorable.
226 reviews109 followers
September 13, 2019
کتابی به این حد از زیبایی و لطافت آخرین کتاب تعطیلات امسالم شد. بعد از تماما مخصوص عباس معروفی، اولین کتابی بود که منو با خودش به یه جنگل سرد برفی برد. انقدر که توی گرمای تابستون، بارها حین خوندنش احساس سرما کردم! بارها هوس اسب‌سواری به سرم زد و به خودم قول دادم یه روزی توی زندگیم جدی برم دنبالش!
این کتاب قلبمو لمس کرد. دلم میخواد یه بار دیگه توی یه شب سرد زمستونی بخونمش..
Profile Image for Lars Guthrie.
546 reviews170 followers
June 29, 2008
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 complete nor definite. As Petterson writes, "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 fill in with their own feelings 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. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay, because they will talk about you no matter how much you squirm, it is inevitable, and you would do the same thing yourself." My highest recommendation.
Profile Image for Maziyar Yf.
494 reviews243 followers
January 9, 2023
مفهوم اصلی کتاب به هوای دزدیدن اسب ها ، نوشته پتر پترسون نویسنده نروژی را می توان طبعیت و اثر آن بر انسان ها و روابط میان آنان دانست ، نویسنده طبیعت سخت گوشه ای در شمال شرق نروژ را با قدرت توصیف کرده ، کتاب او سرشار از رودها ، دریاچه ها ،درخت ها و کوه ها ست . کلبه هایی چوبی که در فاصله هایی دور از هم هستند ، مردمی که سرمای شدید و برف آنها را در خانه های خود محصور کرده و به گونه ای در طی سالیانی دراز این مردمان به تنهایی خود خو گرفته اند .
داستان پترسون دو زمان ، یکی نوجوانی تروند ساندر در سالیان پس از جنگ جهانی دوم و اشغال نروژ و دیگری پیری او را نشان می دهد . ساندر در سالمندی خود به همان روستایی باز گشته که در 15 سالگی همراه با پدر در آن زندگی می کرده ، در کلبه ای در دل جنگل ، نزدیک رودخانه .
توصیفات پترسون از طبیعت ، جنگل و رودخانه شگفت انگیز است ، او چنان عطر چوب درختان ، زمزمه رودخانه ، صدای سوختن هیزم ، ماهی گیری و البته برف و سرما را توصیف کرده که خواننده را مشتاق به زیستن در چنین طبیعتی می کند ، گرچه که تقریبا تمامی وقت پدر و پسر به کار در مزرعه ، قطع کردن درختان و انداختن تنه آنها به آب و نگه داری اسب و نه مست طبیعت شدن سپری می شود .
نقطه عطف داستان را می توان در روبرو شدن تروند با لارس دانست ، این امر بهانه ای می شود که خاطرات تابستان و دوستان و همسایگانش را به یاد آورد . فاجعه ای که یون برادر لارس به همراه خود لارس می آفریند نه تنها زندگی خانواده یون را متلاشی و لارس را در اندوهی سخت عمیق فرو می برد بلکه زندگی تروند و پدر او را هم دگرگون می کند . داستان پترسون سرشار از افرادی ایست که به بهانه ای خانه خود را ناگهان و بی دلیل ترک می کنند و نه توجه چندانی به خانواده رها شده خود دارند و نه بابت این جدایی اندوهی حس می کنند . آنها می روند و افراد خانواده چه تروند و یا چه لارس می مانند و جای خالی آنها .

به هوای دزدیدن اسب ها تفسیرو تعریف متفاوتی ایست از تنهایی ، تنهایی و مرزهای آن . نویسنده سبب حال عجیب خود را تنهایی می داند . از نگاه او در تنهایی ایست که تفاوت میان حرف زدن و حرف نزدن به تدریج از میان می رود ، تعریف او از تنها بودن شگفت انگیز است : این گفت و گوی پایان ناپذیر درونی که همیشه با خودمان داریم با گفت و گوی مان با معدود افرادی که هنوز می بینیم شان در هم می آمیزد و زمانی که تنها زندگی می کنی مرز میان این ها از نظر ناپدید می شود و تو نمی دانی کی از آن مرز گذشته ای ؟
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
996 reviews1,135 followers
August 13, 2020

OK, I know Asgeir is from Iceland, and not Norway, but that’s the song that I kept going back to while reading this book: it captures the atmosphere of Trond’s story perfectly.

“Out Stealing Horses” is one of those quiet, introspective books that sits there quietly on the shelf, between novels containing much more bombastic stories. But it doesn’t feel intimidated by them: it knows that the story within its pages is subtler, more complex and more haunting that those of its neighbors.

Our protagonist is an older man, living by himself in a cabin, far from everything, in Norway. When an unexpected encounter with someone he knew from his childhood happens, it unlocks his memories of a series of events that clearly marked the end of his childhood, and the beginning of a new phase of his life.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but the complicated emotions that mark such a transition are perfectly captured by Petterson. Who are our parents when they are not parents? Can one action send our life in a completely different direction than what we expected? Could we ever hope to tell that story to anyone and have them understand?

I liked reading this story. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel or anything like that, but it brings to life a very particular time and place beautifully and vividly, with just a light veil of maudlin remembrance laid over it.
Profile Image for Hakan.
662 reviews454 followers
July 7, 2020
Per Petterson’un Benim Durumumdaki Erkekler’ini çok beğenmiştim. At Çalmaya Gidiyoruz ise tam bir başyapıt, İskandinav duyarlılığının herhalde en iyi örneklerinden.

60’lı yaşlarının sonuna yaklaşan ana kahraman Trond, eşini kaybetmesi ve emekli olması sonrasında Oslo’dan, çocukluğunu geçirdiği kuzeyede kırsal bir bölgeye göç ediyor. Hayatının son dönemini yalnız ve doğayla haşır neşir olarak geçirmeyi amaçlıyor. Ama geçmişin hayaletleri peşini bırakmıyor. Kendisininkine yakın bir evde onun gibi köpeğiyle yalnız yaşayan bir ihtiyarın çocukluk arkadaşının kardeşi olduğunu farketmesiyle, sancılı bir geçmişi hatırlıyor, bize de acılı ama müthiş bir büyüme hikayesi okumak düşüyor.

Roman, geriye dönük olarak 1999, 1948 ve 1945 olmak üzere üç ayrı dönemi içeriyor. Olayların seyri geriye dönüşlerle ve adeta bir yapbozun parçalarının yavaş yavaş birleştiren şekilde ustaca kurgulanmış. Çocukluktan gençliğe geçişte arkadaşının sebebiyet verdiği bir trajedi, Alman işgali yıllarında köyde yaşananlar, tüm bu süreçte babası başta olmak üzere ailesiyle ilişkileri, daha bir sürü yan temalar, sade ama içinize işleyen bir şekilde anlatılıyor. Kitabın sonlarına doğru anneyle birlikte İsveç’e yapılan seyahate dair bölüm romanın zirve noktalarından.

Kitaptaki doğa tasvirleri harika. Güzel ama yaman bir doğayla iç içe yaşayan insanların mücadelesi de çok iyi işlenmiş. Hamsun’un paltosundan çıkmış anlaşılan Petterson da. Deniz Canefe’nin çevirisi de gayet iyi. Edebiyata, insana, doğaya ilgi duyanların kaçırmaması gereken bir kitap kısaca.
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Author 1 book42 followers
September 29, 2011
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 be taken for granted again like breath itself.
So what do you read when the geese are flying over, the leaves are turning, and Time is cleaning your mirrors? I happened to be reading 'the Norwegian book about the father and son'. And I couldn't have been reading a more perfect book for this time. Perhaps that's the recommendation right there; that this book could stand up to this time. It did not become too frivolous so that I had to set it aside, nor was it too complicated or difficult. It had no trickery and very little ego.
The truths in this book are stated as sparely and simply as one of Sibelius' piano works, each piece of time whole in itself and then set down in just the right spot until it makes sense to the adult son and the reader. What the son finds out is that there is more than one order for time. There is the order in which it was lived, the order it is remembered (which is often on shuffle), and the special order that is like a puzzle. Work it, and it gives you the big picture, or at least the forest for the trees. Like the characters, the woods have a strong, resinous presence in this book.

"...and the wet boggy moss and the sweet, sharp, all-pervading odour of something greater than ourselves and beyond our comprehension; of the forest, which just went on and on to the north and into Sweden and over to Finland and further on the whole way to Siberia, and you could get lost in this forest and a hundred people go searching for weeks without a chance of finding you, and why should that be so bad, I wondered, to get lost here? But I did not know then how serious that thought was."

I know those woods. They go to the tree-line and as spare as this book is, he leaves nothing out. There is some logging in this book, Stihl portraits that never get overwrought or silly. He really leaves nothing out.
My high opinion of this book may be due to the time I read it, but I don't think so.

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