01 September 2010

Out Stealing Horses

This book was recommended by my friend Stephanie recently; she even offered me a money-back guarantee.  No refund was needed, however: Out Stealing Horses is one of the best novels I've read this year.

Per Petterson's novel demonstrates Hemingway's famous maxim, "The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water," as perfectly as anything I've ever read.  As I read I kept thinking the novel was about one thing, and it kept turning out to be about something else, also. This happened repeatedly. So a coming of age story about a teenage boy is also a story about an an almost-old man preparing for being old and alone, and it is also a story about the limits of human relationships, and it is also a story about how we cope with disaster, and it is also a story about resistance to Nazi occupation, and it is also a story about adultery.

Oh yes, and it is also a story about stealing horses.

I have read some online reviews of this book that complain the novel has no plot.  On the contrary, there is an astounding abundance of plot.  You just have to read almost as quietly and attentively as the author writes, or you could miss it all.

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