Out Stealing Horses
2007 Winner

Out Stealing Horses

Translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

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.

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.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Per
Petterson

Per Petterson was born in 1952 and was a librarian and bookseller before he published his first work, a volume of short stories, in 1987. Since then he has written three novels which have established his reputation as one of Norway’s best fiction writers. To Siberia and In the Wake are also published by Harvill in English translation.

Per Petterson was born in 1952 and was a librarian and bookseller before he published his first work, a volume of short stories, in 1987. Since then he has written three novels which have established his reputation as one of Norway’s best fiction writers. To Siberia and In the Wake are also published by Harvill in English translation.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Anne
Born

Anne Rosemary Cookes was born in south London on 9 July 1924. She joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry during the Second World War, and taught Morse code at the SOE at Grendon Underwood, Bucks, where she met Povl Born, a Danish air force pilot. In 1946 they married and moved to Copenhagen, where she studied English literature at the university. She became fluent in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

She began writing poetry and, at the same time, began translating Scandinavian writers into English, such as Hans Christian Andersen, Karen Blixen, Jens Christian Grøndahl, Per Petterson, Michael Larsen, Janne Teller, Stig Holmas, Carsten Jensen, Sissel Lie, Henrik Stangerup, and Knud Hjortø.

In the 1980s, she moved to Salcombe, Devon, where she wrote books on local history. She founded the poetry publisher Overstep Books in 1992, and ran it until 2008.

Anne Rosemary Cookes was born in south London on 9 July 1924. She joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry during the Second World War, and taught Morse code at the SOE at Grendon Underwood, Bucks, where she met Povl Born, a Danish air force pilot. In 1946 they married and moved to Copenhagen, where she studied English literature at the university. She became fluent in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

She began writing poetry and, at the same time, began translating Scandinavian writers into English, such as Hans Christian Andersen, Karen Blixen, Jens Christian Grøndahl, Per Petterson, Michael Larsen, Janne Teller, Stig Holmas, Carsten Jensen, Sissel Lie, Henrik Stangerup, and Knud Hjortø.

In the 1980s, she moved to Salcombe, Devon, where she wrote books on local history. She founded the poetry publisher Overstep Books in 1992, and ran it until 2008.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2003
Country
Norway
Original Language
Norwegian
Author
Publisher
Harvill Secker
Translator
Anne Born
Translation
Translated from the Norwegian by Anne Born

RELATED FEATURES

News March 25 2024

Discover the 2024 Dublin Literary Award Shortlist

Discover which 6 books made it to the shortlist, one of world’s most valuable literary prizes!
News January 16 2024

2024 Longlist Revealed

Novels by four Irish authors are among the 70 books nominated by 80 libraries around the world!
News November 28 2023

2024 Dublin Literary Award Judges Announced

Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
Video June 2 2023

Highlights from the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony

Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.

STAY CONNECTED

Stay in touch and sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates on the Dublin Literary Award.