“Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson
Strictly speaking this book was first published in 2005… but, when searching for a book from 2006, I made a rookie mistake and took note the paperback edition publishing date. I apologise.
Having said that I’m sticking by this book/year because I loved it and it deserves to be read.
It was a total surprise for me and I can’t remember how I stumbled upon it.
Trond is an old man living alone in an isolated cottage near a lake and surrounded by forest. He’s contented with his simple life but when he meets someone from his past, old memories come to the surface, and we slowly learn about important events of his life.
It’s a novel about love and friendship and betrayal and family and growing up. It’s about the war and its consequences, about growing old, about nature, about death.
The language is beautiful and whilst at times it seems to get lost in strange long descriptions that seemingly go nowhere… then next sentence hits you with the most incredible, deep, poignant reflection on ageing or growing up or joy or sadness… It is sometimes awkward and sometimes so poetic it takes your breath away. At times so hard and unbearable and at times warm and full of wonder. Breathtaking in either case.
Such is life, I suppose.
I don’t know much about Norwegian literature to say if this is a typical style… but it’s definitively a book that will stay with you for a long time.
One for your list, that’s for sure.