Per Petterson

Guardian Review today ran an interview with Norwegian writer, Per Petterson, whose novel, Out Stealing Horses, was internationally acclaimed and which I praised to high heavens. I then claimed to have felt colder towards In the Wake and To Siberia. This is where it helps to know more about the author's life, especially when it informs the work as much as it did in In The Wake because, like the story itself, Per lost his parents, his brother and a nephew when the ferry they were on sunk. Why does it matter? Because it warms one to the huge significance of those events - it may blur the lines between fiction and fact and narrator/author but I don't give a fig. I love the way he comes across here, especially in relation to growing up in a staunch working-class family, and also about knowing if he wasn't going to write that he was going to be miserable. He also dislikes Ibsen, which seems to be rather common amongst the few Norwegians I know. Also, luckily I think, he lives in the middle of nowhere and has his very own work cabin. You can't get cooler than that. Coming to know more about Petterson means I care more for his work, which is great because he has a new novel wending its way in the not too distant future, I Curse the River of Time, currently in translation.

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