I finished this yesterday with a sense of sadness, as it's the last of the Petterson books that I have. I know he's written more, but they are yet to be translated.
This is an amazing book, and pretty much different from any of his other novels (or most fiction for that matter). Imagine placing four characters into a setting, describing the location, and leaving it at that. You are told of different things that happen, but from the outside. You really have no internal view of why they are behaving as they are. There's very little dialogue to clue you in, and most of the strange occurences come and go with no explanation. The details from place to place are incredibly vague, there are few references to their work, their daily habits, even their friends.
For example, the two children, from childhood on, appear to parent themselves. Their father is extremely distant, and their mother is pretty much devoted to God and no one else. The brother and sister are extremely close, to the point that it crosses your mind that something may be off. But then again, they essentially have no parents, so all their interaction is with each other. They talk about a vague future but they never have a connection to the current, it seems. The isolation is unsettling.
One thing this book really taught me was how ignorant I am about history from a perspective other than US History...this took place in Denmark prior to WWII and I had no knowledge of any of the activities that were going on before or during the war.
Really good, although I still favor Out Stealing Horses.
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