Friday, March 14, 2008

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Out Stealing Horses begins with a first-person account of a house in rural Norway, in November. The narrator is Trond Sander, a sixty-seven year old man who has recently suffered through the deaths of those closest to him, and now simply wants to be alone. He lives with his dog Lyra in a house that no one else was willing to buy because of the work it required. He tells of his days in this house, while at the same time reliving a summer fifty years previous, when he was 15, and staying with his father in another cabin in a different part of rural Norway. That summer was pivotal in his life, for many reasons, and shaped the person he became.
Trond's voice in the novel is beautiful, and I enjoyed reading the book simply to "hear" it. It reminded me of Gilead (by Marilyn Robinson) in that way. It was restful to read. The story itself is intriguing. We only know the details of Trond's life in the winter that he is telling it, and in that summer of 1948. Of other parts of his life we only get glimpses. We know he was married and divorced, then remarried. He has two daughters. He had an older sister, who died around the same time as his second wife, three years prior to the telling of the story. But of these people, we only know them in there relation to Trond. We know the characters of the story of 1948 better than any of the others.
This is a beautiful book, and a very satisfying read. There is no reason to know more about Trond's life than that which he shares with us. It is a moving story.

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