If I don’t have a book on my bedside table to read before I go to sleep, I almost panic. Books are so vital to my life that I can’t imagine living without them. I pass along most of them to other book-lovers, toss a few that failed to hold my interest, and hoard those I want to read again and again. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (translated by Anne Borne) is one that I’m hoarding. When I finished the first read, I flipped back to the first page and read it again, and I’m sure I’ll read it more times in the future.
Petterson is a Norwegian writer, so the fact that the book seems so fresh is a tribute to his translator. The story itself has nothing to do with horses or stealing them, but is a beautifully told novel about disappointment and injustice, love and friendship. I would probably have read it twice just for the enjoyment of the way it’s written, but in this case I also had to read it a second time because I’d read it too fast the first time. Every word in this novel counts, and you can’t skim over any sentence without losing meaning. Not that it’s hard going, just that you have to pay attention or you’ll miss something important.
I love discovering new authors, and now I want to read everything Per Petterson has written.