I love looking at my shelves and books, admiring the cover art, reflecting on the authors, their stories, and the bookstores I acquired the books from; the best is when the acquisition of a book is linked to a memorable experience.
I often pull books off my shelves just to look at them, maybe I'll read the first line or paragraphs I have marked. Yesterday, I grabbed Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses which I read many moons ago and enjoyed immensely. I started reading the first line, which turned into the first paragraph, the first page, and then the first chapter; I just could not stop so I have been rereading it all weekend. I had forgotten how much I love this story and Petterson's quiet, meditative, contemplative prose:
“People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know about you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No-one can touch you unless you yourself want them to. You only have to be polite and smile and keep paranoid thoughts at bay, because they will talk about you no matter how much you squirm, it is inevitable, and you would do the same thing yourself.”
To me, the book has a distinctive Nordic melancholy tone to it, but to give others a frame of reference, Petterson's writing has been described as a mix of Marilynne Robinson and Raymon Carver, so fans of those might enjoy this one. Out Stealing Horses won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2007 and Petterson won The Nordic Council Literary Prize in 2009 for I Curse The River of Time (I love that title!)
Check GoodReads for summary and reviews of both novels. Happy Sunday, friends😊