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Out Stealing Horses (2003)

by Per Petterson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2672442,708 (3.91)421
After a meeting with his only neighbor, sixty-seven-year-old Trond is forced to reflect upon a long-ago incident that marks the beginning of a series of losses for Trond and his childhood friend, Jon.

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» See also 421 mentions

English (225)  Dutch (5)  Danish (4)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (244)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
Here's what I wrote in 2009 about this read: "Good read. Quick read, simple prose, shorter novel. A older man recalls his 15th summer, the last spent with his father . . . In a coming-of-age tale set in Norway. Events during WWII, several years before that summer, affect a man, a woman, and their families for a lifetime. Lovely descriptions of Norway's forest lands in both summer and winter." ( )
  MGADMJK | Jul 31, 2023 |
Reading this novel was like sitting down to a long leisurely conversation with an old man while he reflects upon his life ( )
  kevinkevbo | Jul 14, 2023 |
Wonderfully written narrative! A blend of coming-of-age, nature writing and peripheral WWII. Per Petterson writes a complex, misguided and lyrical protagonist. Set in the villages, forests and lakes of rural Norway, this book paints a deep picture of one boy's summer experience with his father, and his retirement as an old man. ( )
  erkldrkl | Jul 1, 2023 |
"I'll have to go down there," I shouted. And before my father could say anything, I had jumped in and let myself skink until I stood on the riverbed. There I felt the current punch me in the back and pull at my arms, and I opened my eyes and saw the end of the trunk straight in front of me, got the loop over my head and fastened it where I wanted it to be. It all went so well I felt I could stand there a long time almost weightless and just hold my breath an keep hands around that log."

I was thinking about my instinctive, irrational, and immediate rating of four stars for Out Stealing Horses, which is immaculately written, at times moving, and has a pedigree of many international literary awards to make its case. I was thinking about a feminist reading of this novel, which is set primarily in the masculine world of postwar rural Norway, and depicts the male bonding over work (mainly cutting and hauling timber). There is a subtle but unmistakable hostility towards women; the main female character is the mother of the narrator's friend, who collaborates in the anti-Nazi underground and enters the male world of work, only to be seen as a potential competitor for the father's affections. There are other clues of misogyny: the narrator's neglect of his grown daughter, moving back to the countryside without leaving so much as a phone number, the harsh tone he uses with his mother on a trip to a small town in Sweden, the fact that his ex-wives are barely alluded to or even named.

The disappearance of Trond's father and the implied entry into the urban, female world of Oslo (as symbolized by the suit his mother buys for him at the end of the novel), is the precursor to the older Trond returning to the setting of his childhood memories with his father. There is a stereotype (heard on the old Prairie Home Companion show) of the Norwegian bachelor farmer on the plains of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Trond the elder is the pure distillation of this: a man who goes off to the country to die alone, away from the complications of society. ( )
  jonbrammer | Jul 1, 2023 |
I thought this was a beautiful book. Memory, mistakes, moral ambiguity, and the search for meaning wrapped up in a quiet, slow setting. "You decide when it hurts." ( )
  mj_papaya | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (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.
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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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After a meeting with his only neighbor, sixty-seven-year-old Trond is forced to reflect upon a long-ago incident that marks the beginning of a series of losses for Trond and his childhood friend, Jon.

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