Per Petterson has had a tragic life. In 1990 his parents, his brother, and his niece all died in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster, where passengers were trapped in a fire. The case is still under investigation, and it appears it was a deliberate scheme to scuttle the boat for insurance purposes. In the Wake, published in 2002, was the first novel in which he wrote about this. His character Arvid Jansen, whom he describes as not an alter ego but a ‘stunt man’ is here shown to be overwhelmed by grief. He has lost his parents and his marriage has broken down. Continue reading Per Petterson : Men in My Situation
Half of Gert has given up on Karl Ove, but the other half is plodding on. Here are her thoughts on book 5 of My Struggle
What is stillness like when it is so great it cannot be grasped? When it has come gliding out of its own place and feels more oppressive than thunder?
It is only someone sailing out of the woods. Not so important, perhaps. Putting himself in order calmly and with strength.
The shining, tranquil river glides out with all its burdens. It comes as if from far away in the interior, and delivers its innermost secrets, on its way towards a distant ocean.
What accompanies it on the journey? Intense desires that have subsided. Nothing more.
When Jonsen, Tommy Berggren’s neighbour and the man who takes him in, is dying, he looks at Tommy and says,
‘You can’t refuse to die, my friend.’
And Tommy replies,
‘Goddammit, of course you can refuse.’ Continue reading Per Petterson : I Refuse