> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 14 November 2013
  • ISBN: 9781409028017
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 128

Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes




Per Petterson masters the art of writing simply about big subjects, and this is the heartwarming debut that brought the author of the highly acclaimed Out Stealing Horses to prominence

Per Petterson masters the art of writing simply about big subjects, and this is the heartwarming debut that brought the author of the highly acclaimed Out Stealing Horses to prominence

Arvid Jansen is a young boy who lives on the outskirts of Oslo. It’s the early sixties, his father works in a shoe factory and his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid wets his bed at night and has nightmares about crocodiles, but slowly he is beginning to piece the world together.

Per Petterson’s debut, in which he introduces Arvid Jansen to the world, is a delicate portrait of childhood in all its complexity, its wonders and confusions that will delight fans of Out Stealing Horses and new readers alike.

  • Pub date: 14 November 2013
  • ISBN: 9781409028017
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 128

About the Author

Per Petterson

Per Petterson was born in Oslo in 1952 and worked for several years as an unskilled labourer and a bookseller. He made his literary breakthrough in 2003 with the prizewinning novel Out Stealing Horses, which has been published in fifty languages and won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Also by Per Petterson

See all

Praise for Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes

“What makes Petterson’s storytelling so mesmerising is his measured, gentle restraint”

Scotland on Sunday

“Written with humour and great clarity, it’s a short but strikingly memorable read”

A Life in Books

“A small book that packs a punch”

Michael North, Independent on Sunday

“Shot through with a tender, nostalgic quality”

David Evans, Financial Times

“This debut outing (from 1987) by the Norwegian novelist tells a tale of childhood c.1960 with tender, bittersweet poignancy”

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

“If you loved Out Stealing Horses, you won’t be disappointed by his razor-sharp debut, which tells the story of Arvid’s childhood … The language is simple, beautiful and cleansed of literary affectation. There is not a single superfluous word”

Ekstrabladet (Denmark)

“These father-son stories bring us the first meeting with one of Nordic literature’s most lovable characters, Arvid Jansen. A mixture of Alfons Åberg, Ingemar from My Life as a Dog and in part Oskar from The Tin Drum ... New readers should begin nowhere but here”

Euroman (Denmark)

“There is both humour and tenderness in Per Petterson’s debut collection from 1987 … Petterson masters the art of writing simply of big subjects. As a reader, you have to read slowly and attentively to register everything, or read the book twice, which you gladly will”

Kristeligt Dagblad (Norway)

“If you loved Out Stealing Horses, you won’t be disappointed by his razor-sharp debut… The language is simple, beautiful and cleansed of literary affectation. There is not a single superfluous word”

Ekstrabladet (Denmark)

“There is both humour and tenderness… Petterson masters the art of writing simply of big subjects. As a reader, you have to read slowly and attentively to register everything, or read the book twice, which you gladly will”

Kristeligt Dagblad (Norway)

“Dreamy and evanescent, [the stories] recall the opening pages of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

Jon Michaud, Washington Post


Related titles