Out Stealing Horses.
There are books that with a single sentence hook the reader, and erase any doubt whether the tale will be memorable. Out Stealing Horses is one of these books, and the sentence is, “We decide for ourselves when it will hurt.”
This work was absolutely lovely. Petterson writes simply but deeply, so this is a great option for people who want to read book on all of those “best books” list but don’t want to wade through dense prose.
Trond Sander is a 67-year-old man who has moved to the Norwegian countryside for quiet in his old age and realizes his neighbor was the brother of an friend Trond spent a summer with when he was 15. This literal closeness to his past sends Trond remembering in detail the last summer he spent with his father. It’s the set-up for a classic coming of age novel, and yet, Out Stealing Horses does not fall to cliches. When Trond’s father speaks to him about pain being determined by oneself while Trond is pulling nettles on page 27, it’s clear this novel is slowly building toward an ending of some weight.
The translation is also to be commended. Never once did I feel as though there was a layer of Petterson’s Norwegian prose which was not being fully captured. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another one of his novels, and look forward to rereading this one on a quiet winter day.