I Curse the River of Time

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Aug 30, 2011 - Communists - 240 pages
16 Reviews

"How impossible it was to grasp that in the end something as fine as this could be ground into dust" (p. 213).
 
I Curse the River of Time, the new novel from the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Out Stealing Horses, is a mesmerizingly beautiful book about love, regret, family secrets and failed revolution.
 
The novel takes us through thirty-seven-year-old Arvid's life and its descent towards a moment of terrible crisis. It traces his parents' hesitant support when he gives up his place at college to work in a paper mill, like his father; his experiences as a fervent young Maoist in Norway in the 1960s; the death of his younger brother; the passionate, enveloping romance that led to marriage and children and, for a time, happiness; the failure of that relationship, and its transformation into a source of harrowing pain.
 
By 1989, everything that gave Arvid's life meaning has melted into air. The collapse of the Berlin Wall mirrors the collapse of his marriage and his self-punishing alcoholism. When his mother is diagnosed with stomach cancer, Arvid sets off to their summer house in Denmark to be with her, meeting men and women from their past along the way. His despairing journey is also a quest for some kind of order in his life, perhaps even a new foundation. When Arvid finds his mother, and accompanies her in her illness, the novel turns to exploring the secrets that explain the distance between them - a distance that perhaps can never be crossed.
 
I Curse the River of Time describes the ways that the present and the past are always intertwined, and shows how the personal and political are one and the same. Written in a subdued and elegiac style, with flashes of devastating poetic beauty, it is an utterly absorbing experience, a book that displays wisdom of the kind that only profound loss can bring. Above all, it is a reminder of the power of great art to console us for life's burdens, an example of the way our dreams may brighten our bleakest moments.




From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MSarki - LibraryThing

There is plenty of compassion in a Per Petterson novel. Even with at least three difficult themes wrapped up into one package. Death, relationships, and the examination of a life too late in the game ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mabroms - LibraryThing

Thank you Goodreads and Graywolf Press for the ARC. It's been awhile since I read Per Petterson, and I had forgotten how long his sentences can be, and how many commas, and eliptical phrases there are ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
16
Section 3
21
Section 4
34
Section 5
39
Section 6
49
Section 7
63
Section 8
74
Section 17
139
Section 18
141
Section 19
148
Section 20
158
Section 21
168
Section 22
169
Section 23
175
Section 24
177

Section 9
75
Section 10
77
Section 11
78
Section 12
84
Section 13
100
Section 14
101
Section 15
119
Section 16
120
Section 25
186
Section 26
187
Section 27
189
Section 28
197
Section 29
206
Section 30
208
Section 31
227
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Per Petterson was born in Oslo in 1952 and worked for several years as an unskilled labourer, a bookseller, a writer and a translator until he made his literary debut in 1987 with the short-story collection Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes, which was widely acclaimed by critics. His novel Out Stealing Horses has been translated into forty languages and won many prizes, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.




From the Hardcover edition.

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