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I curse the river of time by Per Petterson
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I curse the river of time (2008)

by Per Petterson, Charlotte Barslund (Translator)

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English (31)  Norwegian (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
It was difficult at first to give myself into Petterson's simple rhythms. The story is mostly backstory, and he meanders about his memories and his past life in ways that sometimes seem irrelevant. But his wonderful poetic prose -- the "dementing lures" described by James Wood in his recent New Yorker review (http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/12/10/121210crat_atlarge_wood) -- kept rescuing me from my impatience.
( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
In a shortish narrative that jumps around in time, Per Petterson relays the story of Arvid, a man in his mid-thirties who cannot get along with his mother. Emotions stay buried deeply in this story, and only surface when Arvid behaves badly.

We witness as Arvid, still in his teens, announces to his mother that he’s leaving college to join the worldwide proletariat as a member of the Communist Party. She slaps him. He travels to a lake with his girlfriend, and while they have fun, we don’t see her any more after this episode. And he hears the news that his mother is terminally ill, but can’t find the love inside required to be anything but a pest, forcing himself into her company as she travels from Oslo to Denmark to visit a home from long ago.

There isn’t much to recommend Arvid, and very likely this is the point. We get this first-person portrait of a very unsympathetic character; his desires and approach to life are rather childish; his wife is divorcing him, and there are mysterious occurrences in the past concerning a couple of his brothers. This strikes as an example of viewing the world from the eyes of a problem child, a troublesome employee, an adult man who in some ways has failed to launch. It’s effective in that way, but the string that should pull this narrative taut and lift it off the surface in my view stays slack and accomplishes nothing.

Per Petterson is admired for his other work, and I have probably latched on to something lesser here.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2016/01/i-curse-river-of-time-by-per-petterso... ( )
  LukeS | Jan 5, 2016 |
There is plenty of compassion in a Per Petterson novel. Even with at least three difficult themes wrapped up into one package. Death, relationships, and the examination of a life too late in the game now to change. This novel was not "fun" to read, but I am glad I read it. Seems I end up liking pretty much everything the man writes. The end result for me was in a difficulty overcome, and that is saying something. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
For me, this book was not quite as compelling as either In the Wake (my favorite of Petterson's so far) or Out Stealing Horses. I settled in easily to his now familiar style and breezed through the book, but found the "plot" slightly lacking and the webbing between his usual flashbacks and flash-forwards weaker than in his other books. Still a good read, just not as strong as I'd been hoping for. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
Thank you Goodreads and Graywolf Press for the ARC.

It's been awhile since I read Per Petterson, and I had forgotten how long his sentences can be, and how many commas, and eliptical phrases there are, and how many times tenses can change before the next period, and, and, and.....

then..... I remember how to read his work - just (almost) close my eyes and let the prose flow, imagine the mood place and just enjoy.

This novel is not as dreamy as earlier efforts, more political (even autobiographical?). Fans of Scandinavian ennui will not be disappointed. Nor will urban geographers interested in knowing nearly every Oslo street and subway stop and all about a few Danish islands, too.

It is worth the effort for Per Petterson aficionados. First timers should best try Out Stealing Horses or To Siberia.

Note that Anne Born who did the superb translations of Out Stealing Horses and To Siberia is nowhere to be found. Instead, we have a collaborative translation effort between Per and Charlotte Barlund. It does not result in the same flow, in my view. ( )
  mabroms | Sep 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Petterson håller sig, liksom sina karaktärer, på artigt avstånd och lämnar lite för mycket osagt. Jag får känslan av att den verkliga huvudpersonen här är Arvids mor, men eftersom Arvid inte känner henne får vi aldrig heller göra det
 
Lågmäld i tonen förmår den ändå måla fram en nästan gastkramande bild av en människa som kämpar med sina oförlösta drömmar och sina föreställningar om livet och världen som inte alls blivit vad han hade tänkt sig.
 
Det är ordknappheten som gäller. Utan att för den skull vare sig naturimpressionerna eller alla de många spröda stämningarna behöver träda tillbaka i denna vemodsfyllda berättelse.
 
Med psykologisk blick och nedtonade stilmedel tecknar Petterson ett övertygande porträtt av en vilsegången ensamvarg i den lägre medelåldern.
 
Det är en vemodig och stillsam historia, men helt utan sentimentalitet, skriven på ett mycket vackert och poetiskt språk. Författaren har en enastående förmåga att realistiskt skildra vardagen med dess små detaljer och tidsmarkörer.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Per Pettersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barslund, CharlotteTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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All this happened quite a few years ago.
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No el estar muerto, eso no era capaz de concebirlo, eso era ser nada y por tanto inconcebible para mi, no había nada que temer en realidad, pero lo de morirse, eso si era capaz de concebirlo, ese preciso instante en el que seguro que sabes que justamente ahora ha llegado el momento que siempre has temido, cuando de pronto comprendes que todas la posibilidades de ser quien realmente hubieras querido ser han pasado para siempre, y que quien fuiste es aquel a quien recordarán los demás.
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Anticipating a divorce against a backdrop of the fall of communism, Arvid Jansen is further dismayed by his mother's diagnosis with cancer, a situation that prompts his emotionally charged quest for understanding and balance.

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