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Out Stealing Horses Paperback – 6 Jul 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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£8.99 FREE UK Delivery on book orders dispatched by Amazon over £10. Only 9 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099506130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099506133
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Lyrical, deceptively clever...the way the story folds together like the petals of a rose is one of the novel's pleasurable surprises...an intelligent journey from boyhood into manhood..." (Daily Telegraph)

"Deeply atmospheric...concise beauty of his prose movingly captures the Norwegian landscape and rural way of life...This stunning novel will tell you more about the Norwegian countryside and psyche than the most enthusiastically well-informed guide book'" (Daily Telegraph)

"Petterson catches so effectively the thing that haunts all of us, the knowledge of how fragile life is...He captures the essence of a man's existence with a clean-lined freshness that hits you like a burst of winter air - surprising and breathtaking...touching humour...the narrative is beautifully balanced...Petterson writes with robust unpretentiousness. His story gathers pace like growing up, and stimulates heart and mind like a brisk country walk." (Daily Express)

"Limpid prose...an impressive novel of rare and exemplary moral courage." (Independent on Sunday)

"A novel of considerable quality." (Scotsman)

Book Description

A moving tale of isolation, the painful loss of innocence and a eulogy for the traditional ways of life gone forever.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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
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
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
What a moving wonderful story. I read the book first and found myself reading more and more slowly just to savour the wonderful craftsmanship of the writing. I finished it reluctantly (its one of those books that you just don't want to end) and gave it to my husband who also loved it from start to finish. Not a big or complicated read, it was a joy from the moment I opened the front cover. It is one that I will tuck away for a few years and then read again when I need a treat.
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Format: Paperback
So concludes Per Petterson in his award-winning novel of remembrance of those decisive youthful events that changed the course of one's life, as well as those of others. My first reading of Petterson was his novel, It's Fine By Me, which came compliments of the Vine Program. This is the second novel (and won't be the last) of his that I've read, and I consider it by far the better of the two, since it resonated more strongly on numerous issues.

The novel commences with Trond Sanders, who considers himself a "spry" 67, deciding to seek the tranquility of a cabin in the woods, along the eastern border of Norway, near the sea, to live out his days. Many a reader might envision a "Walden"-style retreat. The timing is as the millennium turns. A chance encounter with his most immediate neighbor, who still lives a considerable distance away, proves fateful. It is a person that he has not seen for over half a century. An event so improbable, that it would normally diminish the quality of the novel, as the author says. His neighbor is Lars Hung.

The novel moves back and forth over time, from the present (1999) to 1948, when Trond is 15, and Lars is 10. It is only three years after the German occupation of Norway during WW II. Events during the occupation still reverberate. It is about friendships and familial relationships. One relationship is between Trond, in his coming-of-age mode, and his father, whom he realizes he does not know, and as events unfold, never will (that secret world of adults!).
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