Trond Sander is 67, his
life has not turned out the way he would have planned but he is making the best
of the remains of his days. In a remote
setting near a quiet lake, he has a rough cabin that needs much work. He figures it will be a good project for
him. I like that he has contemplated how
to spend this part of his life, it will be a solitary life, he will work on his
home, spend time with his dog, go for walks along the lake, and reflect on his
past. Out walking one day he meets his
only neighbor, Lars, the man seems very familiar. He is the bother of Trond’s childhood friend;
the meeting sends Trond’s reminisces back to the summer of 1948 just after the war. It was to be his last summer with his
father, something Trond did not suspect at the time. The story line alternates from Trond’s time
in his cabin near the lake to that summer in his teens. He spends time with his best friend, Lar’s
brother, and the boys are up the sort of hijinks teenage boys are drawn
to. There are defining moments to life,
that summer was such a moment for Trond.
This is one of those quiet novels that mean something. It is a reflection on the sum of a life, how
that life is scared or formed by loss and joy.
Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“Sixty-seven-year-old Trond Sander wants to live in peace and quiet but finds himself confronted with a turbulent period of his youth. This award-winning and provocatively written novel loses nothing in translation from Norwegian, and, after reading Petterson's novel, the conversation in our book group was lively and inspired.”
— Cynthia Claridge, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR
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.
About the Author
Per Petterson is the author of books including In the Wake, To Siberia, and I Curse the River of Time. Out Stealing Horses has won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize. The New York Times Book Review named it one of the 10 best books of the year. A former bookseller, Petterson lives in Oslo, Norway.
“Petterson's spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force.” —The New Yorker
“A gripping account of such originality as to expand the reader's own experience of life.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Out Stealing Horses looks like a charming but modest chamber-piece. In retrospect--and this is a novel that strikes deep and lingers long--it feels more like some shattering literary symphony.” —The Independent
“A . . . miracle of a book. ” —The Irish Times