#8: Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

September 23, 2009 | 1 book mentioned 3

coverRecently, while re-reading Out Stealing Horses, I also happened to be rereading Hemingway, and it occurred to me that the two are similar. In Per Petterson’s novel, as in many of Hemingway’s, characters’ lives – like real lives – are deeply rooted in the physical world. Even the narrator echoes Hemingway’s narrators, saying at one point, “No one can touch you unless you yourself want them to.”

Yet unlike many American novels with fully drawn-out dramas, Out Stealing Horses is written in a quiet, controlled manner that offers glimpses of W.G. Sebald. If resonating with the work of either Hemingway or Sebald is enough to make a novel good, Out Stealing Horses, with its echoes of both, is a rare book indeed.

Read an excerpt from Out Stealing Horses.
More Best Fiction of the Millennium (So Far)
Best of the Millennium, Pros Versus Readers

is the author of two story collections and two novels, including her recent, Kinder Than Solitude.


  1. I loved this book. I’m now holding on to his other (translated) books in the “books to save for that time when the books run out and I want to have a stockpile of the best reading ready” section of my bookshelf.

    Thank God nobody has tried to make a movie out of it.

  2. Excellent comments – I wholeheartedly loved this book (and I think I got the recommendation from a Millions year-end-roundup).

  3. So happy to see this make the list as it is easily my favorite novel of the past decade. I found myself rereading large sections of the book, not for clarity but simply for enjoyment. A gem.

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