Petterson pleases

book cover for "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson

Christine Foster Meloni
Washington, D.C.

Per Petterson is an author who has found success both in his native Norway and in the U.S. If you’re looking for light summer reading, don’t choose one of his novels. But if you’re looking for a book that will engage your attention and give you a true Norwegian feel, you can’t go wrong with Petterson.

His most popular book is Out Stealing Horses. If you have not read any of his books, I would recommend starting with this one and then following it up right away with I Refuse. The parallels between these two books are quite striking and reading them consecutively should prove interesting. If you have already read Horses, memories will most certainly be stirred up in your mind as you read I Refuse.

i refuse

In Out Stealing Horses, 60-year-old Trond Sander has moved to a remote location in Norway to get away from society and find tranquillity in his troubled life. He soon discovers, however, that one of his distant neighbors is the brother of his best childhood friend. Memories of Trond’s friend and of his father come flooding back and he is forced to relive old traumatic experiences, in particular, his father’s abandonment of the family.

In I Refuse, we again discover two people who meet again by chance after many years. Tommy and Jim were best friends as children but have not seen each other for 35 years. We are taken back in time and relive with the two men certain devastating events of their respective childhoods. It is a moving story of heartbreak and loss between family and friends.

This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Christine Foster Meloni

Christine Foster Meloni is professor emerita at The George Washington University. She has degrees in Italian literature, linguistics, and international education. She was born in Minneapolis and currently lives in Washington, D.C. She values her Norwegian heritage.