Review by Harold Garde, February 2011 —
By Per Petterson | It may well be an antidote for the gloating we in Florida do during the winter months that drives me to read novels by Scandinavian authors.
I have neglected much to read on, maybe just a little bit longer while my paint is drying, work by the Swedish author Hennig Mankell, and now the Norwegian, Per Petterson, whose “I Curse The River of Time” I just finished reading. But I am not finished with it. It haunts me.
The utter alienation of the leading characters, the chill that makes me want to accompany them with their escapes into alcohol, are pervasive. The sense of place, cold. The relating to others, difficult and uncomprehending.
So, why do I so readily recommend the works? Because the writing is glorious. I know their uncertainties. I taste their food, I breathe the bitter air, the empty landscape. I understand the frustration of wanting the human intimacy that is far beyond their capacity. I am involved. I feel the pulse of real life. I believe, I believe. Such good writing makes me believe. These novels enrich my life.
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