Petterson's debut novel, about growing up and rancorous family life, published in English for the first time
Petterson’s debut novel, published in English for the first time
Twelve-year-old Arvid and his family are on holiday, staying with his grandparents on the coast of Denmark. Dimly aware of the tension building between his mother and grandmother, Arvid is on the cusp of becoming a teenager: feeling awkward in his own skin, but adamant that he can take care of himself.
As Arvid cycles down to the beach with its view of the lighthouse, he meets Mogens, an older boy who lives nearby, and together they set out to find fresh experiences in this strange new world. Echoland is a breathtaking read, capturing the unique drift of childhood summers, filled with unarticulated anxiety.
“A compelling mix of fable with the day-to-day account of a working-class boy… It is hard to think of a novel that so precisely and vividly conveys the pain and disorientation of puberty”
John Burnside, Guardian
“Is there a living writer better at conveying the disconcerting relationship between time and memory?... There is pleasure, too, in watching Petterson shift through the gears from pleasure to unease in one of those gloriously sinuous sentences that have become something of a trademark”
Adrian Turpin, Financial Times
“Petterson is remarkably gifted”
James Wood, New Yorker
“It packs a powerful punch… A clear-cut jewel of nameless dread and nagging anxiety: Scandinavian gloom par excellence.”
Andrew Van Loon, Sunday Telegraph
“His eerily terse prose luxuriates in the hazy strangeness of the Danish landscape and is particularly brilliant at nailing adolescence as an inchoate, restless state in which life is felt much more fiercely than it is understood.”
Claire Allfree, Mail on Sunday
“Like an old photograph, it illuminates everything to a sudden point of clarity… Petterson’s writing is so evocative of life on the cusp of becoming a teenager that when I close the book, I go back to the beginning and I re-read… Echoland is a novel that tastes of the sea and the sun and of frightening and beautiful thunderstorms.”