Reviews

Cold and Ruminating: A Review of In the Wake by Per Petterson

By posted at 6:00 am on June 21, 2007 0

Scott of Conversational Reading invited me to participate in his “Reading the World” series this month. My contribution was reading and posting about Per Petterson’s In the Wake.

coverI don’t read enough fiction in translation, maybe a couple of books per year. When I do the experience elicits one of two reactions. Either the book is so rooted in its place and culture that I can’t imagine it being written in another language, or the book, despite its overseas origins, shows that there are universals in literature, no matter the language in which a book was conceived. Norwegian Per Petterson’s In the Wake falls mostly into the latter camp, as it draws from the grand tradition of books about ruminating, somewhat pathetic male protagonists who appear to live their lives mostly in their heads.

Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day comes to mind, and Richard Ford has made a career out of this type of book. But my favorite example from this crowded genre is Walker Percy’s pitch perfect The Moviegoer.

Read the rest of the review at Conversational reading.

Also of Note: Petterson just won the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his book Out Stealing Horses. We took a look at the IMPAC shortlist in April.





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