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It's Fine By Me Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; First Edition edition (3 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846553695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846553691
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Beguiling and beautiful… It's a gripping and subtle coming-of-age story, ripe with melancholy…a graceful and moving novel" (Daily Telegraph)

"This is a sharp, tough and often movingly observed story about growing up." (Kate Saunders The Times)

"Executed with not only a magical attention to detail but also with heart-swelling affection... page after page of clear, glitchless and truthful writing" (Neel Mukherjee Financial Times)

"A brilliantly vivid piece of storytelling" (Mary Crockett Scotsman)

"Beautifully written and understatedly uplifting, It's Fine By Me is an essential read" (Stylist)

Book Description

The brilliant and moving story of a young man's life from the author of the prizewinning Out Stealing Horses

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 7 Oct 2012
Format: Hardcover
Firmly connected to the cold, often bleak landscapes they inhabit, Per Petterson's characters are never frivolous, however impulsive and even violent their actions might be. Often shackled by circumstances over which they have little control, they respond in the only ways they can, sometimes self-destructively. In the ironically entitled It's Fine By Me, an early Petterson novel from 1992, Audun Sletten shares his life from his teen years to age twenty, always honest in his feelings and always sensitive to his personal standards of behavior though he often imposes these standards with violence.

As the novel opens, thirteen-year-old Audun Sletten and his mother have just moved from the rural countryside to an area outside of Oslo, and from the first day of school, the reader sees that life is going to be difficult for Audun, who lacks any sense of compromise. Petterson's depiction of Audun is lifelike, carefully crafted to allow Audun to maintain the personal respect he believes he deserves, while at the same time, so psychologically revealing that readers will immediately feel empathy for him and understand his behavior. As the novel moves back and forth between Audun as a thirteen-year-old and Audun as a sixteen- or seventeen-year-old, his tendency to hit first and deal with the results later creates problems for him and for others around him. Even as a twenty-year-old, he is still quick to react with force. Still, he shows some empathy for others - adults who treat him kindly, and some other, younger children who do not threaten him. Gradually, after many dramatic events, the reader sees Audun beginning to grow emotionally.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Marleen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
Set in the 1970's in Norway, this is the story of Audun Sletton.
When the book starts Audun is 13 years old and facing his first day in a new school where insists on keeping his sunglasses on all day and refuses to talk about where he came from and his past.
Five years later Audun is the only one of his siblings still living with his mother in a working-class district of Oslo. He is in his last year of school but not sure if that is the place for him. Audun has one good friend, Arvid and shares with him a love of reading and socialist political ideas.
Slowly Audun shares some memories of his life so far with the reader, if not with those around him. We learn about his violent father who disappeared five years ago but could be anywhere, even on his way back to his family. We also find out about Audun's younger brother and older sister and slowly start to understand Audun's problems with his life and the world around him.

This is a very good coming-of-age novel. In many ways Audun is a typical teenager, trying to find his place in the world and to understand the actions of those around him. But there are issues in Audun's life that make him a far from average teenager. The violence that were a dominant feature in his early life, and a devastating loss make him feel more alone in an incomprehensible world than the average teenager does.
The reader won't always be able to understand or approve of his actions and decisions, but will at all times sympathise with him and will him on, hoping that he will come out at the other side to a brighter future.
At times violent and at other times tender, this is a powerful story, both heartbreaking and uplifting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
Its Fine By Me is semi-autobiographical and could be called a "coming of age" novel in that it follows the life of Audan between the ages of 12 and 18. Audan lives with his mother and sister in a working-class suburb of Oslo. He had a brother who was killed in a road accident and Audan now struggles with his role as "number one son", while his shadowy and violent father comes and goes, wreaking havoc whenever he turns up on the scene. Interestingly Audan's best friend is Arvid who is the main character in the earlier book, I Curse the River of Time.

When you read Petterson you see a different side to the Scandinavian experience than that depicted in home and living magazines. Rather than elegant houses set among scenic lakes, furnished with clean-lined sofas and expensive electronics, you find yourself in working class areas among docks and factories, as rough and ready as any industrial area. Alcohol seems to be a perennial problem, and when people leave a bar they fight each other before leaving for their troubled, down-at-heel homes.

Audan comes from such a home - his father makes occasional appearances but is greeted with with a low-level terror by his family who know that arguments end up with a beating from the angry drunk. He keeps a gun and on one occasion he leaves home and turns round and shoots at the house, breaking the kitchen window and narrowly missing Audan's mother.

The book slips back and forth between the years, with Audan being 13 in one chapter and 17 in the next, then back again, his reminiscences always being acute, social interactions mixed in with glowing descriptions of the nearby Norwegian countryside.

Audan eventually drops out of school and begins work in a noisy, dangerous print-works.
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