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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407091716
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

I Curse the River of Time

A haunting literary masterpiece by the bestselling and prize-winning author of Out Stealing Horses

It is 1989 and all over Europe Communism is crumbling. Arvid Jansen is in the throes of a divorce. At the same time, his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Over a few intense autumn days, we follow Arvid as he struggles to find a new footing in his life, while everything around him is changing at staggering speed. As he attempts to negotiate the present, he remembers holidays on the beach with his brothers, his early working life devoted to Communist ideals, courtship, and his relationship with his tough, independent mother - a relationship full of distance and unspoken pain that is central to Arvid's life.

  • Pub date: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407091716
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

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.

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Praise for I Curse the River of Time

“Per Petterson is a profoundly gifted novelist”

Richard Ford

“Tight-lipped with one another, his characters open their hearts to the reader, making us witnesses to their most private selves. He makes the reader lean in, out of the wind, to listen closely.... Petterson has the ability to be simultaneously restrained and terribly tender...Extraordinary skill... There is a quality that I can only call charm, or something like charm, to Petterson's essentially dark and lonely sensibility.”

New York Times

“Petterson applies candour, sensitivity and humour to his intimate studies of life as lived by us, the ordinary majority, and the result is singular magic...resoundingly human...All the inevitability of life, its fragile glue and the doubts that stalk the survivors are summoned and considered in Petterson's candid, allusive fiction. There is no easy sentiment, only genuine emotional power...Tender, masterfully evocative”

Irish Times

“Spare, cool, precise prose...a powerful evocation of the difficulty of communication within families”

Evening Standard

“I Curse the River of Time is a work of blackest tragicomedy, a novel as cold and scintillating and desolate as the northern winter landscapes that are its setting.”

Rachel Cusk, Guardian

“Per Petterson stands unsurpassed among contemporary writers for existential truth telling”

Financial Times

“He unpacks the folly and pain of the human condition, leaving space for wit”


“My new literary heartthrob is the Norwegian writer Per Petterson...his latest book...returns to a favourite character, Arvid Jansen, and follows his struggles to resolve his relationship with his dying mother, whose disappointment in her son strips him bare.”

Alison Miller, Sunday Herald, Christmas round up

“Shows Petterson's alter ego, Arvid Jansen, confronting his mother's terminal cancer, and recreates his indigent, often alienated youth in East Oslo with charitable humour.”

Paul Binding, Times Literary Supplement, Christmas round up

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