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Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
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Out Stealing Horses (2003)

by Per Petterson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (185)  Dutch (4)  Danish (3)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
From the first page I fell for this book. Especially for the scenic descriptions of Norway and the way of life there.
I liked it a lot in total, although I do find that it is slightly confusing from time to time.

Another remark I like to make is, that for me the book is not 'finished'. Starting with Trond at 67, going back to his childhood and teenage years (summers, rather) and then the book suddenly stops after a description of a day in his teenage life. Because of that it feels like the books is telling more about life, a way of living and how the war was experienced than that it is about one person and what his experiences are. If it were all about Trond, then for me it could have used a clearer ending. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | May 5, 2015 |
A chance encounter causes Trond, a widower in his sixties living in near-solitude, to reflect on the pivotal summer of 1948 that began when his friend Jon invited him along to steal horses.

This quiet, contemplative book focuses on only a few characters and sort of sneaks up on you with what it's really about. The parts of the narrative present (soon before the turn of the 21st century) are told in present tense, while 1948 and other years are in past tense, which was structurally very helpful for remembering if we were with 67-year-old or 15-year-old Trond. He speaks sometimes in sentence fragments and sometimes in run-ons, much like you might imagine someone's thoughts to run on, stop and start, when he or she is alone. Trond claims he is lucky, and while we see glimpses of that, much of this story focuses on his profound sense of loss and coming to grips with grief and regret, all wrapped up in that one life-changing summer where he learned so much about his father and himself. ( )
  bell7 | Apr 12, 2015 |
At the age of 67, Trond purchases a small property in the countryside near a small lake. His solitude has become a burden in Oslo — a widower from his second wife and long estranged from his first wife and daughters. Perhaps he will find peace amongst the trees as he undertakes the numerous projects of reclamation necessary for his new property and for himself. But peace is hard to come by. Instead he is troubled by memories — memories of a time in a similar environment when he was a youth and his father newly returned after the war. With a friend the same age nearby and loads of adventures for he and Jon to partake of, it might have been a perfect idyll. Instead it is an awakening of sorts — awakening into the casual brutality of accident and incident, the as yet not fully understood sexual drive, and the certainty that his knowledge of himself, his environment and especially of his father is limited if not entirely founded on lies. The memories of that eventful summer work in counterpoint with Trond’s present challenges and gradually over the course of the novel we gain a tentative understanding of this man and how he was forged through the events of fifty years prior.

The writing here is lyrical as seems appropriate for memories of youth in the countryside. But this at times masks the immanent violence that permeates nature (or just human nature?). Trond is defenceless, unprepared for what will occur or what he learns and though no preparation perhaps might have helped him, he nevertheless resents his inability to decide for himself when it will hurt.

Recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Apr 5, 2015 |
I was swept away with the first chapter, which was full of lovely, patient writing and reminded me of Wallace Stegner at his best. But soon the prose and story both became hopelessly precious, and they never recovered. The meaning of the story is supposed to be carried in scenes filled with small portentous gestures. Instead, the whole thing collapses on itself, in a run-on mush of blathering sentimentality. The book is self-consciously happy with its sentences, but empty of greater meaning. The stylistic choices of that delight in the first chapter become a tedious hum of the same old rhythms. I'm not sure whether to blame the author or the translator for the highly tedious use of ..and...and...and...in run-on sentences. Hemingway could do that and it meant something. Here it is just another stylistic tic, used in every other sentence, it seemed.

I really wanted to like this book--great title! great cover! great reviews!--and I really didn't. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/86304623548/out-stealing-horses-by-per-petterson

Just a marvelous book, paced so lovely, and the telling of the tale so interesting to me. The back and forth between the past and the present accomplished so adroitly that I was simply amazed at Petterson’s talent I had previous to this book been admittedly embarrassingly unaware of.

I think what made this novel feel so important to me is the narrator’s age of sixty-seven and how after a successful career, a couple wives, two kids and on, he decides to return alone to the woods and make a home for himself and his dog to live out the rest of his days in solitude. His long life spent as a white-collar businessman he now relies on his experience of past summers as a teenager visiting his father at a remote cabin and all the physical work and rugged life spent outdoors helping to hone his now-necessary survival skills. He is pleased at how much he remembers from that time with his father and uses the lessons well as he gets on quite well out there despite his advancing age. But solitude additionally affords him much time to also contemplate his past, and then an old acquaintance from those long ago summers surprisingly ends up being his next door neighbor which adds to the tension as the narrator Trond relates to the reader his vividly poignant memories.

There is mystery present throughout the entire novel and this is something other reviewers found objectionable. I believe the vague and out-of-reach characters of his memory add to the contemplative nature of what Trond is attempting to do in his old age. Every person in the book whether it be his summer friend Jon who was responsible for the rifle accident that took his younger brother’s life, Lar’s the surviving twin who actually shot his brother dead as a little boy while they were both left unattended, Trond’s father who was having an affair with the grieving mother, the mother herself, and even Trond's own mother, all of them a clouded image as in memory and none of them clear to us or to Trond from which to figure anything out. The awful world war that Trond’s father was a part of and he who played such a brave and significant role in the Norwegian resistance to the Nazis was also a backdrop for how his father met this mother of the boys in the first place while working together secretly as couriers against the Nazi occupiers of their country. I think the dreamlike image of all these character helped to provide the out-of-focus consideration of the narrator's past and what it meant to him now that he was distanced from the city's humanity while establishing a warm and comfortable life by his own hand while surviving in a harsh but natural environment. I cannot praise Petterson's method more highly and how he significantly reached me by his words. The translator also must have done a very good job as I was completely engaged with the book from beginning to end.

Another complaint I have read regarding this novel was there ultimately was no answer given to any question of a memory presented by the narrator, and there rarely is anyway. Generally, acceptance is as much as we can hope for, and that is not by my lights an unacceptable conclusion at all. I was so comfortable not being in the presence of contrived or trite actions, and even the accidental death by leaving a loaded gun in the vicinity of unattended children actually happens all of the time. And nothing was made much of anything, though it typically is, and I found that to be a refreshing method used by Petterson as well.

There is good and bad in everything and Per Petterson skillfully makes use of this fact throughout the entire book. I found the novel not only a page turner, but also a rich and rewarding experience I hope to savor for quite some time. Though this was my first introduction to any work by Per Petterson, I am positive there will be more to come in the very near future. ( )
1 vote MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
Here is a remarkable novel, one which appears to be about nothing in particular, featuring barely half a dozen characters, several of whom have no names. Hardly anything happens. A boy dies, a man gets shot, another boy is given a new suit, and that, more or less, is that.
 
 
Le Norvégien Per Petterson signe un magnifique roman sur les saisons de la vie, sur ces moments qui font que l'on n'est soudain plus le même.
 
added by NeueWelle | editLibération, Lindon Mathieu (Aug 31, 2006)
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Petterson, Perprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Born, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Born, AnnePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinding, TerjeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verner-Carlsson, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vikhagen, HåvardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Für Trond T.
First words
Tidlig november.  Klokka er ni.  Kjøttmeisene smeller mot vinduet.  Noen ganger faller de og blir liggende i nysnøen og kave før de kommer seg på vingene igjen.  Jeg veit ikke hva jeg har som de vil ha.

Early November. It's nine o'clock. The titmice are banging against the window.
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I listen to the news, cannot break that habit...but it no longer has the same place in my life. It does not affect my view of the world as it once did.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original Norwegian title: Ut og stjæle hester
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427085, Paperback)

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 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An early morning adventure out stealing horses leads to the tragic death of one boy and a resulting lifetime of guilt and isolation for his friend, in this moving tale about the painful loss of innocence and of traditional ways of life that are gone forever.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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