Thursday, 2 September 2010


Original Post - Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I've finished reading Per Pettersons' (IMPAC shortlisted) Out Stealing Horses which I immediately filed as one of those books which will be read again. (Much like the novel's hero re-reads Dickens). The book concerns an aging man who relocates into the deep countryside some time after losing his second wife in a car crash. By chance his only neighbour is someone who he knew during dramatic formative events in his adolescence. This kicks up the dust of his memories and the past starts to come back in startling clarity into his pared down life. This is something that has often fascinated me - the fact that there are people out there who probably understand and remember episodes of my life that I neither understand nor clearly remember.

Alternating chapters are set in the past and the present and gradually build a picture of the past that he wishes to escape and understand and the father who left his family but still remains with our hero in such things as the way he holds his tools and approaches a task.

With wonderful descriptions of logging and a clarity in the writing which is rarely found, this is an exceptional novel. It actually has made me think of re reading Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion - another great novel of logging and family.

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