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 oneof 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 was 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 by Per Petterson 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.
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Per Petterson is the author of books including In the Wake, To Siberia, and I Curse the River of Time. Out Stealing Horses won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize. The New York Times Book Review named it one of the 10 best books of the year. A former bookseller, Petterson lives in Oslo, Norway.From Booklist:
*Starred Review* Three years after his wife's accidental death, Trond Sander, 67, settles into an isolated cabin near Norway's southeastern border with Sweden. It's where he last saw his father at the end of summer 1948. Then 15 and full grown, Trond helped harvest the timber—too early, perhaps, but necessarily, it came to seem later. He also suddenly lost his local best friend, Jon, when, after an early morning spent "stealing horses"—that is, taking an equine joyride—Jon inadvertently allowed a gun accident that killed one of his 10-year-old twin brothers and guiltily ran away to sea. When that summer was over, Trond went back to Oslo, but his father stayed with Jon's mother, his lover since they met in the Resistance during World War II. Segueing with aplomb between his present and past, Trond's own narration is literarily distinguished, arguably to a fault; would a businessman, even one who loves Dickens, write this well? The novel's incidents and lush but precise descriptions of forest and river, rain and snow, sunlight and night skies are on a par with those of Cather, Steinbeck, Berry, and Hemingway, and its emotional force and flavor are equivalent to what those authors can deliver, too. Olson, Ray
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