HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Ut og stjæle hester by Per Petterson
Loading...

Ut og stjæle hester (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Per Petterson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4342191,568 (3.93)354
Member:adlib
Title:Ut og stjæle hester
Authors:Per Petterson
Info:Oslo Oktober 2003
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, eier, read, norwegian literature

Work details

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (2003)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 354 mentions

English (202)  Dutch (5)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  English (219)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
I was captured by the voice and tone of this novel, one that does not reach a climax at the end but one which shows more how unresolved things are in life.

Petterson structured this novel so that the two or three plot strands, Resistance in the Second World War, the narrator’s summer with his father and Trond’s subsequent solitary life as a 67 year old mesh unjarringly.

There’s not a lot of dialogue and I think that helps to give this book its rather sombre tone – that and the way we discover Trond’s father has abandoned his family and that the narrator himself subsequently dos much the same. We are led to see their selfishness, the damage they do to their families but at the same time we see them in a positive light. Petterson creates this duality really well – and I like the more subtle ways in which he does it, for example in the way Trond treats his dog. Frequently the formal, intransigent relationship he has with his dog is shown as if to indicate his own stubbornessas well as his love: ‘I go first and she follows when she is told. I am the boss, we both know that, but she is happy to wait because she knows our system too and smiles as only a dog can smile and jumps a good metre into the air straight up and out over the whole flight of steps when I quietly say: Come on! She lands almost in my arms, standing. She still has the puppy inside her’ and later ‘I open the door and Lyra stays on the doorstep until both Ellen and I are in the hall. Then I let her in with a small well-drilled gesture’.

The other aspect of the duality is seen in the sudden anger Trond feels both as a fifteen year old when he so nearly punches a man who doesn’t give him directions to the sixty-seven year old who abruptly feels very put out by his daughter finding where he has hidden himsef away: ‘I suddenly feel angry and slightly sick, and I see my hand is shaking, so I keep myself at an angle to hide it from her when I pass her to fetch sugar and milk and blue napkins and all that is needed to make this into a meal. I really had my fill a couple of hours ago and am not hungry yet, but even so I set out enough for the both of us, as she might feel embarrassed sitting there eating on her own’. It’s the second part of this that shows his enduring consideration for others though the way he doesn’t support his ‘heavy’ deserted mother is another sign of some callousness.

I think the reader can relate to the older Trond in his rejection of urban living and even perhaps in his distrust of others: ‘People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. No-one can touch you unless you yourself want them to. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay . . .’ Then there’s what he says about television: ‘I did not bring a television set out here with me, and I regret it sometimes when the evenings get long, but my idea was that living alone you can soon get stuck to those
flickering images and to the chair you will sit on far into the night, and then time merely passes as you let others do the moving. I do not want that. I will keep myself company’.

While this is what I’d call a subdued novel, there are sudden revelations that surprise the reader such as when Trond thinks about the way he learned skills from his father: ‘And the person observing is me, and the man I am watching, his movements and skills, is a man of barely forty, as my father was when I saw him for the last time when I was fifteen, and he vanished from my life forever’. This is the first time we hear that his father dropped out of his life and we don’t know why or how and the revelation is only thrown in in passing. Similarly we only learn that his first marriage ended in divorce when he’s talking about clothing from that time – and we hear no more about it – another of the unexamined threads in the story, the main one being how could his father just abandon him?

The only reservation I have about this novel is in some of the grammar and I wonder if this is a reflection of the original or something brought in by the translation. Often sentences are run together and sometimes the prose just seems awkward. Some examples: ‘I feel hungry now, working with the wood has sharpened my appetite.’ This naturally does come together but a semi-colon would be more appropriate. More clumsy is: ‘For it is true it’s getting cold in here, and at the same time I’m a bit surprised that he should take charge in my house and in that way have an opinion about how I do things, I would never have done that myself, but he did ask first, so I guess it is alright’, the run-on sentence just making the whole thing too long while ‘although I should have liked to I was not awake long enough to see if he actually did close his eyes before the morning came’ lacks a comma which would have made it more fluent.

On the other hand there are many phrases which reverberate such as ‘One of my many horrors is to become the man with the frayed jacket and unfastened flies standing at the Co-op counter with egg on his shirt and more too because the mirror in the hall has given up the ghost. A shipwrecked man without an anchor in the world except in his own liquid thoughts where time has lost its sequence’ and, remembering the horses he and Jon aimed to illicitly ride: ‘We smelled the horse droppings and the wet boggy moss and the sweet, sharp, all-pervading odour of something greater than ourselves and beyond our comprehension’.

So, an impressive book which has me ordering Petterson’s ‘I refuse’ with some anticipation. ( )
  evening | Nov 18, 2016 |
A solid 5-star, well-written book -- one I hope to read again in coming years with the same (or different!) sense of awe. I am a long-time fan of Per Petterson's works, and I've saved this one -- clearly his masterpiece judging by the jacket reviews -- for a couple of years while enjoying and checking off his "lesser" novels.

I brought Out Stealing Horses to Norway on vacation -- a perfect book for cafe reading in Oslo, I thought. But it began slowly, proceeded slowly, and I brought it back home having very unenthusiastically finished just the first two chapters in fits and starts. Uh-oh, classic signs of an agonizing slog ahead! Oslo itself plays a small but important role in the novel, so maybe that's why it was impossible for me to get into the book while there?

Several days after returning home from vacation, I started over, free of urban Norwegian distractions, and I fell into Petterson's storytelling rhythm. The book rarely picks up the pace -- it's a slow-burn story, meandering ponies instead of galloping thoroughbreds. If you don't care for that sort of thing, keep browsing. But once I got past the first 30 pages, I found the turns of phrase, the protagonist's a-ha observations, the various heartbreaking, life-shattering moments and the sad/beautiful conclusion all effective and entertaining despite (because of?) the glacial pacing. In fact, quite a lot happens over the course of 238 pages -- but just a few key moments play out quickly (thrillingly! breathlessly!), the way out-of-control events can overwhelm us, shaking us out of the comfort zone of an otherwise ordinary life. When those moments arrived in the story, I was riveted.

There are many worthy plot summaries elsewhere; I will toss out a few themes as a nod to the amateur reviewer's time-honored practice of helpfully boiling down complex works to just a few bullet points.

- It's a coming-of-age story: Trond, the 67-year-old central character, reviews his life, mainly returning to the summer he was 15. The events of that year defined him -- in ways he still struggles to understand decades later.

- It's a Norway story: Winter is coming (!) and a lack of preparation equals suffering, if not certain death. It's also a lone man's meditation on choosing to live alone in a remote area. But the threat of being snowed in -- cut off from civilization, food, and supplies -- is paramount.

- It's a World War II story: Norway's occupation during World War II is not the main theme or time period of the novel, but the characters' fates are absolutely affected by events and choices made during and immediately after the war.

- It's full of surprising appearances and disappearances. There are not a lot of characters in the book. But a fair number of friends, neighbors and family members die or leave -- or arrive -- when least expected.

- Yes, there are horses -- the same two horses, it turns out, at the beginning and the end of the novel. But a lot happens in between the two rides, thanks to artfully deployed flashbacks.

- Out stealing horses: "You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means." (In fact, nearly all the words mean something else, since I read the original Norwegian novel in an English translation.)

As with any rich work, this one is actually about pain and suffering. It is also about choices, and whether we truly make them or have them thrust upon us by others. Trond, the narrator, recalls a time in childhood when his father assigned him the task of picking thistles out of their yard. He complied, but stopped well before finishing the job because it hurt so much without gloves. His father reached out bare-handed and grabbed bunches of thistles without showing any sign of discomfort. After a while, he leaned over and gave his son what was clearly intended as valuable advice: "You decide when it hurts." ( )
1 vote joecanas | Aug 28, 2016 |
I think this is a book that deserves to be savoured rather than dipping in and out of it over too long a period like I did. I enjoyed the beautiful writing and the slow, quiet pace of the book which would normally tick all my 'book love' boxes, but somehow it didn't grab me as much as it seems to have grabbed everyone else.

I definitely think this is partly attributable to reading it during a particularly busy and distracted few weeks. Days elapsed in between snatched readings, and I think I lost something from my reading experience as a result.

Essentially this is a tale of a man in his 60s who has taken himself off to a cabin in a semi-remote part of Norway to live out the rest of his days in peace and simplicity away from the emotional pressures of family and life in general. His nearest neighbour turns out to randomly be an acquaintance from his childhood, which stirs up many long stored away memories, some idyllic, others difficult.

I enjoyed the chapters returning to his childhood, but felt that a few potentially gripping story threads fell a little flat in the end. I appreciate that the author was deliberately wanting to leave some loose ends, but it felt a little like getting engrossed in a newspaper article only to find the concluding page is missing.

There were interesting emotions and feelings at play, but these were written in a male Men-Are-From-Mars-don't-dwell-on-your-emotions-too-much kind of way, and as a result I didn't empathise with the main protagonist as much as I could have done.

4 stars - worth a read, but by the end of the year I feel I'll have forgotten much about it. ( )
1 vote AlisonY | Jul 26, 2016 |
Atmospheric but timelines a little too jumbled for my liking ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is a quiet but deep book about an older man who leaves his life and family behind to retire to a cabin in the country in Norway. A chance encounter with a neighbor who he knows from his childhood brings up all sorts of memories, mainly of his father and a summer they spent together in the country during 1948 when he was a teenager.

The book meanders through Trond's memories and his current thoughts about aging and craving solitude. I thought the writing was beautifully paced and a good mix of introspective and intriguing. In this book, I liked the things that the author left unexplained or only hinted at. I think it's a book I'll be thinking about for quite a while. ( )
  japaul22 | Feb 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (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, AnnePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Born, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sinding, TerjeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verner-Carlsson, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vikhagen, HåvardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:40 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
99 avail.
239 wanted
4 pay7 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.93)
0.5
1 10
1.5 4
2 48
2.5 18
3 205
3.5 92
4 442
4.5 82
5 293

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,720,938 books! | Top bar: Always visible