Monday, February 8, 2016
Book Review: "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson
This is another book club pick, and I've been such a procrastinator with those books, that I actually read this a week before our meeting! Yay! It helps that this was a fairly quick read, and very well written too. It has been awhile since I've read anything by a Scandinavian author and I'd forgotten how much I like the writing style. It tends to be more sparse and deliberate. The scenery is something amazing too.
This story is a coming of age story, yes. But not just a coming into adulthood story, but also a coming into a next stage of adulthood - not quite end of life, but a peaceful reflection period. The way the narration moves between the present and the past is practically seamless and makes total sense. But there are two story lines here that, given that this is one character's life, are interconnected. Or at least one has a profound affect upon the other. The summer of his childhood has a few remarkable and surprising events. Including the one we all have at one point or another - where we realize that our parents are actual humans too, and in that humanity are entitled to their own secrets and past and whatnot. Trond feels the twist of this discovery (and his father does have an unusual story of his own) and the reader does too. The trick is to see how these past events have shaped the person he is at 67.
There is a recurring thought that works its way throughout the book that really got me. It is "we decide for ourselves when it will hurt". So true.
Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson
Graywolf Press, 2005. First published 2003.