Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Club Meeting: Out Stealing Horses


Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson
Graywolf Press, 2007
258 pages
source: purchased

The meeting that almost wasn't...

Our hostess lost power a few hours before the meeting and a series of urgent group texts ensued. Will the power come back in time? Should we change the location? To the local coffee shop? Hey, it's 4 PM on Friday, wouldn't a bar be better? Finally, thirty minutes before the meeting, power was restored and seven of us gathered as originally planned. (Wine was served!)

The book: 
- an older man, in a remote cottage, reflects upon a life-changing youthful summer
 - quiet, slightly melancholy, atmospheric, and visual
 - translated from Norwegian

As I was reading:
- I realized I'd started the book years ago and never finished
- the writing style was very appealing
- I switched to the audio version and loved the narration
- I got a little bored about two thirds of the way through

The discussion:
- Everyone read the book! (that doesn't always happen)
- We stayed on topic for the entire meeting (also a rarity)
- The discussion opened up plot possibilities/angles I hadn't considered
- Other members liked the book slightly more than I did
- We would all read more from this author

Favorite Quotes:
Time is important to me now, I tell myself. Not that it should pass quickly or slowly, but be only time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divide it up by, so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I am not looking.   
I look at myself in the mirror above the sink. The face there is no different from the one I expected to see at the age of sixty-seven. In that way I am in time with myself. Whether I like what I see is a different question. But it is of no importance. There are not many people I am going to show myself to, and I only have one mirror. To tell the truth, I have nothing against the face in the mirror. I acknowledge it, I recognize myself. I cannot ask for more. 
My rating:
Initially 3.5 stars, but 4 after further thought and discussion


26 comments:

  1. I went back and found that I only gave it 2 stars on Goodreads--I thought I was okay. I do remember loving the narration tho. And when you said: quiet, slightly melancholy, atmospheric, and visual---you hit the nail on the head for me.

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    1. Debbie - The audiobook narrator was just perfect for the book. Thanks again for the suggestion!

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  2. I love it when a book club discussion goes that well!

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    1. Kathy - I do, too! Seems like we usually get off topic way too quickly ;-)

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  3. How good the power returned and you had your book club meeting.

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    1. Terra - Power seems to go out around here whenever the wind blows! I'm glad it came back in time, too :)

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  4. That's funny about your book club but glad you were able to meet as planned. I'm all for the bar idea though! This sounds like an interesting book though I think the audio version would work better for me. I seem to be more patient with a slow pace in audio format than I am with reading.

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    1. Katherine - I seem to be much more tolerant on audio, too... especially when the narration is good.

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  5. One of the most profound books I've read in the past ten years was Per Petterson's I Curse the River of Time. I don't recall details, just the fact that it swept me off my feet, gave me much, much to ponder, and made me go looking to read more of his books.
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

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    1. Judith - The person who nominated Out Stealing Horses did so because she read I Curse the River of Time and wanted to read more by Petterson. I added it to my wish list after our meeting.

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  6. I do remember reading this one but it was a bit too quiet for me taste if I now think back (6-8 years ago).

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    1. Diane - That must be around when I started it the first time, lol!

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  7. This book has been on my tbr list for a very long time. I'm happy to know you liked it.

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    1. Vicki - I did, but it's one of those books you need to be in a certain frame of mind to appreciate.

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  8. It is so interesting that you realized that you had started the book in the past after you had commenced reading it.

    I have similar experiences. Sometimes I am surprised at what I have forgotten :)

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    1. Brian Joseph - Thankfully that doesn't happen to me very often. At least I hadn't read the entire book and forgotten about it!

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  9. The book sounds interesting but your book club sounds awesome!

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    1. Patty - My book club is the best! The original group grew out of playgroup we had when our kids were little. We genuinely enjoyed each other's company and wanted to keep meeting after the kids started school. There are still a couple of us left :)

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  10. Glad your book club meeting had power! This book looks interesting. I'm always a little hesitant to give translations a try, but the audiobook version sounds like something I'd enjoy.

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    1. Monica - I often hesitate with translations, too. The audio narration was captivating here!

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  11. This one was hot on my radar some time ago but kind of fell off. Sounds like I need to rethink it.

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    1. Lisa - It was very good... save it for when you're in the mood for quiet and contemplative.

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  12. I enjoy reading quiet & contemplative books every now and then. This has been on my TBR list for quite some time, so I think I'll see if I can get the audio from my library. Glad you had a fun book club meeting!

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    1. Les - I think the audio adds a lot to this novel... definitely the way to go.

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  13. It sounds like a quiet atmospheric book as you say -- I wonder if does have enough going on? I might like it or would I become impatient?

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    1. Susan - I think this is really a mood book. I loved the beginning, but my mood had changed by the end. If I'd just plowed through earlier, I would have liked it more.

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