Out Stealing Horses

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Took Per Petterson's OUT STEALING HORSES with me on the train to New York and I didn't want to move an inch when the train entered that long tunnel. What a mesmerizing book this is, how technically brilliant, a textbook lesson in the use of time and haunt, so that I began to scribble in its margins, sketch out a diagramming code. The story itself is extraordinary; take that as a given. The simple chunking of simple words into long, breathtaking sentences. The ridiculously perfect last line. The transitions: seamless, emotionally true.

When you write, you read; when you read you learn to write; and it doesn't matter how many of your own books sit on a shelf, how many unwritten books stir within, how many possibilities seem just within reach: a book like Petterson's throws you right down, out of yourself. It says, Start again. Work harder.


Em said...

I really enjoyed the duality of childhood experiences and adult recollections in this novel. And I just picked up a galley of his next novel that is also being published by Milkweed. Can't think of the name now, but I'm excited to dive in.

Beth Kephart said...


I so love that hold in your hand the next Petterson.

And because I trust your taste entirely, I want to know, at once, how good it is...


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