Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Book Review: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Book club read (7/2010) at Crystal Lake Public Library. Normally I at least have something positive to say about a book, but definitely NOT with this one. I would honestly rather give myself a thousand paper cuts and pour a bucket of lemon juice on each one very slowly than ever read this book again! I will give you a general idea of the novel but trust me, I am telling you to skip it with every fiber of my being!
The novel takes place in a remote area of Norway with the main character Trond, a 67 year old man who has decided to live his life out in complete isolation, separated from anybody and everybody in existence, including his daughter (no telephone so people will never get to contact him). The "action" of the novel is when he runs into a "neighbor" who is the brother of his childhood friend Jon. This causes him to think about basically one event that happened during his childhood and that which gives us the name of the novel (happened in 1948).
Now from my point of view, literally nothing happens. I have read my fair share of intellectually stimulating books where there is not much action per se so that the point is to contemplate life in existentialist ways; and this did not do that for me at all! When the wonderful librarian who leads our book club asked what we thought of the book, I kid you not, you could hear a pin drop. I finally couldn't take it anymore and just said how much I hated it, which was followed by some sighs of relief and agreement from most of the crowd. To be fair, one woman did enjoy it but for the life of me I cannot remember why. It has won some awards though and apparently some people find it highly intellectual and stimulating, so give it a go if you so desire, but I would never recommend this book to anybody, ever.And so it goes...