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Out Stealing Horses Hardcover – 3 Nov 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; First UK Edition edition (3 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843432293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843432296
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 2.5 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'...Per Petterson's deeply atmospheric writing...movingly captures the Norwegian landscape and rural way of life'. -- Clover Stroud, Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

A moving tale of isolation, the painful loss of innocence and a eulogy for the traditional ways of life gone forever. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a lyrical book ; in many places, a beautiful one. The narrative is driven by three instances of traumatic loss. Trond, now 67, has sought solitude in a little cottage, not much more than a shack, in the Norwegian hinterland. You could say that he is running away from the world, but to some extent he is also returning to something like the kind of rural environment in which, as a boy and teenager, he achieved greatest happiness. His relationship with this setting has its positive side. He looks forward to making practical improvements to the cottage and enjoys the companionship of his dog, Lyra. Though he is shutting himself off, there is no feeling that he expects or wishes to fade away. From this situation, he reviews his life, and information from the past emerges so that eventually we have a fairly complete picture of his formative years.

The book is really beautifully written. Descriptions of the surroundings, the trees, the water, the tracks, journeys (including one on horseback into Sweden), the simple life in the cottage are marvellous and sometimes deeply satisfying. A key element is Trond's relationship with his father (it is with his father that he makes the journey into Sweden), a crucial relationship in his life, and this is handled with understated delicacy. His father's life, which includes wartime work with the Norwegian resistance is seen through the boy's eyes. Trond may have become a recluse, but he is courteous and still likes people - he gradually makes contact with his neighbour, Lars, and he welcomes a visit from his daughter, though both of these encounters bring memories from the past which are not wholly positive.
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Format: Paperback
This is such a lovely book - I haven't read anything quite so evocative and atmospheric for a long time. Simple but majestic prose, I found myself narrating incidents in my own life with the same stark yet intimate tone. (Perhaps that's a strange quirk of mine, but I only do that when I feel completely involved and at one with a book and a writer.)

Set in Norway, the book is about Trond, a man who has set up home in the middle of nowhere almost as a retreat from life; he is nearing old age. So proceeds a description of his current state of mind intertwined with memories of a youthful summer spent with his Dad in a very similar area. And in Trond, Petterson creates a character whose honesty you immediately like, but only really understand at the very end of the book, keeping you engaged throughout. And even then you are left with questions, though perhaps that is the key. Trond is still finding out new things about himself, still surprising himself, even though he tells himself that he has withdrawn. The story burns slowly, but like watching fire grow, it draws you closer. This is a meditation on the things which make us, and the moments which you somehow remember, many of which you don't understand because they happen when we are too young. It's beautifully written, elegtant, and very moving. I loved it.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up because of the reviews here on Amazon, and I have to agree, it is a genuinely wonderful book. The writing is beautiful and atmospheric, reflective and sad. It centres on Trond who has moved to a remote cabin in Norway, and it is here that he reflects on his life and his relationships.

Like other reviewers I'd also recommend that you read it slowly to truly appreciate it. It is a short novel, and an easy read, but there is a definite depth to it. Trond examines his life (the events and relationships that have shaped him), in a way that for me highlights his struggle between a desire to withdraw and a desire connect. I found myself both gripped and saddened by the psychology of this struggle, and also humbled by the human experience I felt privileged to have some small insight to.

As for recommending this book, I do so wholeheartedly. I think you'll really like this book if you are a fan of the understated slow-burn style novel that engages your mind and your emotions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was selected for the Round the World book group. We all loved it. The hero, Trond, is 15 in 1948 when he spends a summer in the country with his father. Later in the book he is an older man of 67, living in an isolated part of Norway. Trond, at 15, has a friend called Jon whom he met when he is away with his father on the land which he has bought. There is a tragedy when Jon, who has gone shooting hares, leaves his gun lying about when he is supposed to be looking after his younger brothers. One of the brothers starts to pay with it and kills the other brother. Later we see Trond and his father helping the local landowner with the hay harvest. The description of this, in the 1940's, and the preparations to make certain that the hay will dry properly, is fascinating. The passage where Trond describes his first experience in watching a lynx is wonderful. No one believes him since they seem to be rare in those parts. The war intrudes into the idyll which the young Trond inhabits. The Germans occupy Norway, arriving through neutral Sweden. A detachment of young men, little more than boys, is posted to the village. The locals cultivate them, putting them at their ease and lulling them so that they are not aware of what is going on. Trond's father becomes a courier for the resistance. He chats to the guards, offers them cigarettes, smokes with them so that they get used to him walking up the road with his sack. He carries mail and papers to go to Sweden. A neighbour's wife is also involved. She brings someone who has to escape to Sweden, and takes him in a boat. His fear leads him to make considerable noise in the boat, drawing the attention of one of the infrequent German patrols. Trond's father activates the already laid explosive charge and blows up the bridge.Read more ›
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