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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Other titles in the Lannan Translation Selection series:

I Curse the River of Time

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I Curse the River of Time Cover

ISBN13: 9781555975562
ISBN10: 1555975569
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Awards

Staff Pick

Exploring politics, philosophy, the nature of love, and the question of how to live a good life, Petterson's latest is melancholy, beautiful, and at times darkly funny — another extraordinary novel from a master of the form.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

An enthralling novel of a mother and son's turbulent relationship from the author of Out Stealing Horses.

It is 1989: Communism is crumbling, and Arvid Jansen, thirty-seven, is facing his first divorce. At the same time, his mother gets diagnosed with cancer. Over a few intense autumn days, we follow Arvid as he struggles to find a new footing in his life while all the established patterns around him are changing at staggering speed. I Curse the River of Time is an honest, heartbreaking yet humorous portrayal of a complicated mother-son relationship told in Per Petterson's precise and beautiful prose.

Review:

"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"Petterson’s spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force." New Yorker

Review:

"It has to be said, on the evidence of these few novels, that Per Petterson is a profoundly gifted novelist." Richard Ford

Review:

"Like an emotional sucker punch, the latest novel from the much-acclaimed Petterson...examines lives half-lived, ending, and perhaps beginning anew....Petterson blends enough hope with the gorgeously evoked melancholy to come up with a heartbreaking and cautiously optimistic work." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"Reading a Petterson novel is like falling into a northern landscape painting — all shafts of light and clear palpable chill." Time

Synopsis:

An enthralling story of a mother and son’s turbulent relationship told in Petterson’s signature style.

Synopsis:

An enthralling novel of a mother and son's turbulent relationship from the author of Out Stealing Horses

Norway, 1989: Communism is unraveling all over Europe. Arvid Jansen, thirty-seven, is trying to bridge the yawning gulf that opened up years earlier between himself and his mother. He is in the throes of a divorce, and she has just been diagnosed with cancer.
 
Over a few intense autumn days, Arvid struggles to find a new footing in his life. As he attempts to negotiate the present changes around him, he casts his mind back to holidays on the beach with his brothers, and to the early days of his courtship. Most importantly, he revisits the idealism of his communist youth, when he chose the factory floor over the college education his mother had struggled so hard to provide. Back then, Arvid's loyalty to his working-class background outweighed his mother's wish for him to escape it.
 
As Petterson's masterful narrative shifts effortlessly through the years, we see Arvid tentatively circling his mother, unable to tell her what she already knows he is thinking. In its piercing portrait of their layered relationship, I Curse the River of Time bears all the hallmarks of Petterson's compassion for humanity that has won him readers the world over.

 

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About the Author

Per Petterson (born 1952) worked for several years as an unskilled labourer, trained as a librarian, and worked as a bookseller, writer, and translator before publishing his first work, Aske i munnen, sand i skoa (Ash In His Mouth, Sand In His Shoe), a volume of short stories, in 1987. This book was proclaimed one of the decade’s most sensational debuts. Since then he has written a book of essays and five novels that have established his reputation as one of Norway’s most significant fiction writers. These are Ekkoland (1989), Det er greit for meg (1992), To Siberia (1996), In the Wake (2000) and Out Stealing Horses (2003). For To Siberia, Petterson was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award and nominated for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. For In the Wake he received the prestigious Norwegian literary prize, Brageprisen, and the novel was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Out Stealing Horses was awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in the UK, as well as both the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize and the Norwegian Critics’ Award for best novel. In 2006, the novel was also named one of the 25 best Norwegian books the last 25 years by the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Out Stealing Horses has sold more than 140,000 copies in its different editions in Norway, and was on the Norwegian bestseller list for more than 70 weeks.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Teresa Borden, March 24, 2011 (view all comments by Teresa Borden)
The wild landscape in this compelling novel is amazing, but the relationship between Arvid, the grown son, and his contemptuous yet affectionate mother who is dying from cancer is the real, can't-look-away narrative draw. As the story unfolds, going back and forth in time, the truth becomes more ambiguous yet also sharper, like shards of rock gleaming on a beach.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
jf2370, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by jf2370)
No one does the kind of melancholy that sneaks up from behind the way Petterson does and this is no exception. In the hands of a lesser writer, this plot--a son going through a divorce returning home to attend to his mother stricken with cancer--could have collapsed under the weight of sugary sentimentality but that isn't Petterson's style. Arvid Jansen, who previously appeared in IN THE WAKE (a loose prequel to I CURSE), is a realistic hero, the kind with believable flaws who has come to a point in his life where he's questioning choices he made as a young man.

Like in Petterson's OUT STEALING HORSES, the past here is never dead. It's not even past.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Lisa Brown, August 27, 2010 (view all comments by Lisa Brown)
just finished this book today (thanks, indiespensible!), and it was time well spent. while the dust jacket makes reference of the fact that the book deals with communism circa 1989, the real meat of this story (for me, anyway) was the investigation of a 37-year-old man's relationship with his mother &, to a lesser extent, father. there's no coincidence that petterson makes reference to the fall of the berlin wall, as it represents the cathartic release the narrator longs to find. but does he? you've got to read it to find out.
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(8 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975562
Author:
Petterson, Per
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Translator:
Barslund, Charlotte
Author:
Barslund, Charlotte
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mothers and sons
Subject:
Life change events
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Graywolf Hardcover
Series:
Lannan Translation Selection
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

I Curse the River of Time Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975562 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Exploring politics, philosophy, the nature of love, and the question of how to live a good life, Petterson's latest is melancholy, beautiful, and at times darkly funny — another extraordinary novel from a master of the form.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "Petterson’s spare and deliberate prose has astonishing force."
"Review" by , "It has to be said, on the evidence of these few novels, that Per Petterson is a profoundly gifted novelist."
"Review" by , "Like an emotional sucker punch, the latest novel from the much-acclaimed Petterson...examines lives half-lived, ending, and perhaps beginning anew....Petterson blends enough hope with the gorgeously evoked melancholy to come up with a heartbreaking and cautiously optimistic work." (starred review)
"Review" by , "Reading a Petterson novel is like falling into a northern landscape painting — all shafts of light and clear palpable chill."
"Synopsis" by , An enthralling story of a mother and son’s turbulent relationship told in Petterson’s signature style.
"Synopsis" by ,
An enthralling novel of a mother and son's turbulent relationship from the author of Out Stealing Horses

Norway, 1989: Communism is unraveling all over Europe. Arvid Jansen, thirty-seven, is trying to bridge the yawning gulf that opened up years earlier between himself and his mother. He is in the throes of a divorce, and she has just been diagnosed with cancer.
 
Over a few intense autumn days, Arvid struggles to find a new footing in his life. As he attempts to negotiate the present changes around him, he casts his mind back to holidays on the beach with his brothers, and to the early days of his courtship. Most importantly, he revisits the idealism of his communist youth, when he chose the factory floor over the college education his mother had struggled so hard to provide. Back then, Arvid's loyalty to his working-class background outweighed his mother's wish for him to escape it.
 
As Petterson's masterful narrative shifts effortlessly through the years, we see Arvid tentatively circling his mother, unable to tell her what she already knows he is thinking. In its piercing portrait of their layered relationship, I Curse the River of Time bears all the hallmarks of Petterson's compassion for humanity that has won him readers the world over.

 

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