Sunday, April 20, 2008

Out Stealing Horses

Writing Exercise: write about a book you liked.

I just finished Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. I really liked it. All the descriptions of it say that it is a poignant and somber, deeply atmospheric. Nice words. And did I like it because of that? Did I even notice that? It was in first person. Narrated from late in life, a present tense that takes place in a cabin that he has decided to buy and spend his final years. Final years that seem to resemble the years of his father who is such a mystery, the years that he begins to recount in flashback throughout the book. Why did I like it so much? Well I certainly liked the main character, Trond. I wanted to know the things that he didn't know, didn't understand. I was curious. And I liked all the reflections in it. Reflections between various fathers and sons, reflections between various ways of running away. I wonder now what it means to be the hero of your own life. Was Trond that was his father? I liked it because it made me wonder about real things. I kept thinking about it even beyond putting the book down. There were reflected images of dreams of drowning, of waking up not knowing who you are, or even your own name. At fifteen, Trond was a friend of water. Is he a friend of water at 67? I want to search back through the book and find the answers.

So how will it affect my writing? I'm not sure it will. Probably it will in ways that I don't know. It is always nice to think about what you will accept from another writer. I will accept wading patiently through Trond's walks in the woods as a 67 year old and his reflections on work because there something small and slightly fallible in him, there is also a willing winning-ness and together they carry the book.

As Always (distracted by the rest of my life and jobs),