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I curse the river of time
Per Petterson
Adult Fiction PETTERS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Like an emotional sucker punch, the latest novel from the much-acclaimed Petterson (a prequel to 2006's In the Wake) examines lives half-lived, ending, and perhaps beginning anew. In 1989, 37-year-old Arvid Jansen's marriage is ending and his mother is dying of cancer. Hoping to leave his marital woes behind in Oslo, Jansen follows his Danish-born mother to her home country, to the beach house where the family spent summers. During the ferry ride and the following days in Denmark, Jansen recalls his childhood bond with his mother and his decision, after two years of college, to leave school and join his fellow Communists in the factories. He struggles with his commitment to communism-the title is a line from a poem by Mao-and with his place in his family and in the larger world. Thankfully, there is neither overt sentimentalism nor a deathbed declaration of love between mother and son, but Petterson blends enough hope with the gorgeously evoked melancholy to come up with a heartbreaking and cautiously optimistic work. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

At 37, Arvid Jansen sees his world falling apart. His divorce is imminent, the Cold War is over, and the life choices he made to burnish his credibility with the Communist Party now seem sadly irrelevant. Eschewing the college education his parents toiled so hard to provide him, Arvid chose shift work in a factory, a decision that caused a rift with his mother, all the more untenable now that she's been diagnosed with cancer. Crippled by grief, guilt, and an unlovely excess of self-pity, Arvid tries to come to grips with the present by reexamining the past, in particular the effect of his younger brother's death on the family dynamic. VERDICT The atmosphere of this latest from Petterson, famed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Out Stealing Horses, is as gray as the stark Norwegian landscape. Melancholy permeates every character like a dense Oslo fog. Yet, this author's gift is his ability to convey so much emotion in such a spare prose style. Petterson's reputation and the litany of prizes awarded to this work after its release in Europe last year make it essential for all literary collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/10.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Arvid Jansen
Male
Age: 37
Norwegian
Mother is dying of cancer; getting a divorce; travels to his mother's family beach house in Denmark to stay with his mother during her final days; recalls his childhood memories and his decision to drop out of college and join his fellow Communists in the factories.



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