Out Stealing Horses is a magical novel that captivates the reader. It records the changing and ever elusive dance of time through the voice of sixty-seven year old Trond Sander, as he recalls his young adulthood against the shadowy aftermath of world war two, and the shock of certain life-defining experiences. Set in the remote Norwegian landscape of spectacular lakes and forests, Per Petterson’s stunning novel is brought to us, in impeccable English, by translator Anne Born.
Out Stealing Horses is an intensely lyrical and evocative novel that handles with a deft and seemingly effortless prose style the transition of the past into memory, and its shifting, unpredictable persistence. Alongside the solitary self searching of (the narrator) Trond, we encounter a man who, having tragically lost those dear to him, has also ‘lost interest in talking to people’, only to discover that, quite literally on his doorstep, the past reappears and speaks directly back to him.
As recollections converge in his mind, like a latticework of remembrance, and a fascinating chain of coincidences unfold, the here and now of contemporary European experience, such as Chechnya, is never far away, an echo chamber within which historical change, at the turn of the new millennium, reverberates. Facing in both directions at the same time, Trond, and the story-telling which fills Out Stealing Horses, is a representative figure of our time, sculpted out of the stark and unflinching natural beauty of Norway. Out Stealing Horses is a masterful achievement by one of Europe’s finest novelists.