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Out Stealing Horses: A Novel by Per…

Out Stealing Horses: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2008)

by Per Petterson, Anne Born (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7652272,177 (3.92)395
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.
Title:Out Stealing Horses: A Novel
Authors:Per Petterson
Other authors:Anne Born (Translator)
Info:Picador (2008), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:xy, norwegian, contemporary, wwii, norway, townandcountry, theland, fathersandsons, menfriends, labor, nature, framenarratives, flashbacks, parentsandchildren, death, secrets, thepast, firstperson

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Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2003)


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» See also 395 mentions

English (209)  Dutch (5)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Set in Norway, the book jumps back and forth between present day when Trond, now a 67yo widower moves into the boonies where he had lived with his father during the summers as a teen in the 1940s. Jumps back and forth, without warning, but was good at keeping you guessing. The title refers to a summer prank of really stealing horses, as well as a code word during the war when his father was a courier with info to Swedish recipients when Norway was occupied. ( )
  nancynova | Jan 18, 2020 |
Too thinky. Too suggesty. When plot does happen, it lands like a ton of bricks. About half dozen too many tragedies. ( )
1 vote Tytania | Jan 15, 2019 |
It was a slow, satisfying read; a story without much plot but with a lot of depth. A man who has recently lost his wife takes himself to a relatively remote farm in Norway similar to the one where he spent summers as a boy, determined to live alone and be as independent as possible for the time left to him. As he prepares for his first winter his mind takes him back to scenes from his childhood, and we learn very gradually about the days he spent with his father in the woods, the life lessons, both intended and not so, that he learned back then. It's a very Scandinavian sort of story, with cold and loneliness almost palpable, and the theme of abandonment threads through both past and present. There is loss, but there is also acceptance. It could have been depressing, but it struck me as simply realistic. Recommended. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 13, 2018 |
At age 67 Trond moves to a remote village far in the east of Norway. A walk in the first snow with his dog Lyra brings back a jumble of memories from his youth, a summer in a similar village spent with his father shortly after the war and the discoveries made about the war, his father, neighbors and felling logs. A profound read, intense but not boring or trivial, but revelatory about growing older and memories. ( )
  bblum | Jul 8, 2018 |
If you actually read my reviews regularly (hi mom), you may have noticed that I'm not writing reviews regularly. I've been finding it difficult lately. You see, more than five years ago I began working part-time so that I could focus on being a writer. At the time I had a nearly completed novel and dozens of stories that I intended to publish. Also, I thought I could use all my spare time to keep the house immaculate and also solve the world's problems. Five years later I can say I did a pretty good job at keeping up with the dishes and laundry. You see, having all the time in the world did not work for this writer. And so, I decided (very grudgingly) to go back to work full-time. I figured I couldn't be any less productive of a writer.

The thing is, I'm having a really tough time adjusting. I don't remember how I did it before. And so, I've been slacking on everything. While I continue to read—I do work at a library, after all—my reviews keep pilling up. Seeing all the books I have yet to write something about is almost too stressful.

Apparently, I read this novel, Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson sometime earlier this year. Of everything that stood out about the novel, here's what I remember: 1) the protagonist is an elderly gentleman looking back on his life in Norway; 2) the narrative is completely non-linear; 3) there are some gorgeous passages through this novel.

1) Trond is the nearly seventy -year-old man who is reflecting on his life. He takes his time getting around to all the details of his life (see 2), but does so with enthralling description (see 3). Some of Trond's reflections are quite tragic, and these are the stories that really make the plot interesting. Largely, Trond's narrative lacks much in the way of action.

2) I learned while reading Out Stealing Horses that Per Petterson is a writer who plans nothing. He begins a story without a plan and just writes. This is what we call writing by the seat of your pants. That explains why this narrative is all over the place, but it doesn't make it any less difficult to follow. Personally, I find the style makes for a less-than-pleasant read and that the final payoff on this particular novel was lacking.

3) Out Stealing Horses is a language-driven story. I realize that it has been translated from the Norwegian, so my judgment in regards to its mastery of language is based entirely on the English translation. The sentences in this novel are quite simple, as you'd expect from a character such as Trond, but that doesn't keep them from carrying a certain rhythm and depth that really stand out. Take, for example, this passage:
There was a smell of roasting meat and coffee in the air, and the smell of smoke, and timber and heather and sun-warmed stones and some special scent I had not noticed anywhere else than by this river, and I did not know what it was made of if not a combination of all that was there; a common denominator, a sum, and if I left and did not return I would never be able to experience it again.

For what it's worth, that's what I remember all this time later of Out Stealing Horses. This is far from a thorough or wonderfully written review, but I'm slacking. (If you think this is bad, you should see the state of the dishes in my kitchen right now.) ( )
1 vote chrisblocker | May 31, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
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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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.
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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