A moving tale about feelings of isolation and of the painful loss of innocence and of traditional ways of life gone for ever.
In 1948, when he is fifteen, Trond spends a summer in the country with his father. The events - the accidental death of a child, his best friend's feelings of guilt and eventual disappearance, his father's decision to leave the family for another woman - will change his life forever. An early morning adventure out stealing horses leaves Trond bruised and puzzled by his friend Jon's sudden breakdown. The tragedy which lies behind this scene becomes the catalyst for the two boys' families gradually to fall apart. As a 67-year-old man, and following the death of his wife, Trond has moved to an isolated part of Norway to live in solitude. But a chance encounter with a character from the fateful summer of 1948 brings the painful memories of that year flooding back, and will leave Trond even more convinced of his decision to end his days alone.
“Lyrical, deceptively clever...the way the story folds together like the petals of a rose is one of the novel's pleasurable surprises...an intelligent journey from boyhood into manhood...”
“Deeply atmospheric...concise beauty of his prose movingly captures the Norwegian landscape and rural way of life...This stunning novel will tell you more about the Norwegian countryside and psyche than the most enthusiastically well-informed guide book'”
“Petterson catches so effectively the thing that haunts all of us, the knowledge of how fragile life is...He captures the essence of a man's existence with a clean-lined freshness that hits you like a burst of winter air - surprising and breathtaking...touching humour...the narrative is beautifully balanced...Petterson writes with robust unpretentiousness. His story gathers pace like growing up, and stimulates heart and mind like a brisk country walk.”
“Limpid prose...an impressive novel of rare and exemplary moral courage.”
Independent on Sunday
“A novel of considerable quality.”
“Remarkable...The genius of this beautiful, candid work lies in its tone of gentle reflection...A very special miracle of a book.”
“A luminous story...a genuine work of art...wonderfully resonant and rhythmic translation.”