Out Stealing Horses is a quiet tale about Trond Sander, a 67-year old Norwegian man who after running into a former neighbor begins reminiscing about his life. In particular, his flashbacks focus on a summer from when he was a teenager during World War II and lived with his father in a remote area of Norway near the Swedish border. During this time, their neighbors experience a traumatic event that also effect Trond and his father. The prose is stark and bleak and seamlessly transitions between the flashbacks and the present day as Trond goes about his solitary days working around his cabin.
It is important not to be careless about supper when you are alone. It is easily done, boring as it is to cook for one person only. There must be potatoes, sauce, and green vegetables, a napkin and a clean glass and the candles lit on the table, and no sitting down in your working clothes. So while the potatoes are boiling I go into the bedroom and change my trousers, put on a clean white shirt and go back to the kitchen and lay a cloth on the table before putting butter into the frying pan to fry the fish I have caught in the lake by myself.
Two of my book clubs selected Out Stealing Horses as their March book. The two different clubs were very aried on their opinions of the book–one book club didn’t like it very much at all and the other one did. I personally found the book very readable and enjoyed it. Everybody needs a little bleakness in their leisure reading now and again. 😉 Others found it “boring and depressing.”
Out Stealing Horses was the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Award. It was also named on the The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year.