Bowdoin Reads

Dave Yee is reading...

Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson

“Out Stealing Horses” is not Per Petterson’s first novel, nor will it likely be his last. His character, Trond Sander, deals with continued loss as the story moves from the cramped city to the rural countryside of Scandinavia and from late World War II to the present day. Like many novels about loss in some form, the novel presents a sort of inextinguishable loneliness throughout its pages. Unlike many novels about loss, though, it does not achieve the mood through the direct showcasing of emotion; rather, meticulous melancholy pours through a gap where sentimentality would normally appear. It is this approach that allows cliché coincidences in the novel to seem natural, and makes incomplete resolutions satisfying. Perhaps this is why it won the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2007—the first work in translation to win the award ever. Awards aside though, I strongly recommend the novel as a trip to different places and different times.

1 comment | Find in library

Submitted by gstowe on Fri, 05/15/2009 - 11:08pm.
I read this book last winter and was quite deeply moved by it as well. The prose is outstanding and the characters memorably etched. I thought Dave's description of it to be very well expressed - "spot on" as the English are fond of saying. I can in no way add to his insights and whole heartedly second his recommendation. - Greg Stowe / Bowdoin Circulation