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To Siberia: A Novel

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To Siberia: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781555975067
ISBN10: 1555975062
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

Petterson's Danish seascape is gorgeous, the lives of his characters are meticulously rendered, and his tracing of their lives is perfect. Guaranteed to take your breath away, To Siberia quietly tells the story of a lovely and innocent childhood opening like a flower in a storm.
Recommended by Jason W., Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

I was fourteen and a half when the Germans came. On that 9th April we woke to the roar of aeroplanes swooping so low over the roofs of the town that we could see the black iron crosses painted on the underside of their wings when we leaned out of the windows and looked up.

In this exquisite novel, readers will find the crystalline prose and depth of feeling they adored in Out Stealing Horses, a literary sensation of 2007.

A brother and sister are forced ever more closely together after the suicide of their grandfather. Their parents' neglect leaves them wandering the streets of their small Danish village. The sister dreams of escaping to Siberia, but it seems increasingly distant as she helplessly watches her brother become more and more involved in resisting the Nazis.

Review:

"This 1996 novel predates Pettersen's acclaimed Out Stealing Horses (first published in 2003), and has all of Pettersen's haunted charms. As an unnamed young girl and her big brother, Jesper (who calls her 'Sistermine'), grow up in rural WWII-era Denmark, the two cope with distant parents, an eccentric extended family and the cold wind. Jesper longs to go south to Morocco; Sistermine yearns for the plains of Siberia, foreshadowing lives that will diverge. Their grandfather's suicide, the arrival of puberty and most tragically, the German invasion change their idyllic childhood relationship; as each sibling fights back against the occupation in his or her own way, their inevitable separation looms. The second half of the novel, in which Sistermine struggles to make sense of her life in various Scandinavian cities and towns, awaiting a hoped-for reunion with Jesper, is less breathtaking and mesmerizing than the first, but the contrast makes her numb loneliness and inability to connect all the more poignant. The book builds up slowly, casting a spell of beauty and devastation that matches the bleak but dazzling climate that enshrouds Sistermine's young life." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

You can infer a lot about the mental state of the narrator of this bleak novel from the fact that she fantasizes about moving to Siberia. We meet her on Christmas Eve, 1934, when she's 9, living with her family in a poor fishing village in northern Norway. She has just recently realized that "the world was far bigger than the town I lived in," and she's already looking forward to "my own great journey."... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"A spare, lyrical novel from Norwegian author Petterson that possesses historical breadth and a remarkable sense of immediacy." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The author of a story collection and an earlier novel, Norwegian writer Petterson is an outstanding talent. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Like Out Stealing Horses...this work coaxes readers into a sphere of loneliness with the precise prose and keen intellect of a masterful writer." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"To Siberia succeeds in one of the greatest aims of fiction, to transport us to another time and place that make us see our world with clearer vision, and to recognize the similarities and differences of human nature, across time and distance." Dallas Morning News

Review:

"[C]hronicles the coming of age of the younger sister in a family characterized by poverty and the bleak beauty of a landscape where frost seems to seep in 'after someone has hanged themselves or taken their life in some other way.'" Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Petterson creates humor alongside wild frozen seascapes, miraculous detail in clover and marram grass." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[A] darkly beautiful story, an evocation of the grim equanimity of the Danish people, the fierce and constant weather and the childish idea that we could possibly save each other from the world." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Petterson's writing is so exact and piercing that, like poetry, it distills her experiences and feelings into imagery that is powerful beyond its words." Seattle Times

Synopsis:

In Danish Jutland, where the sea freezes over and the Nazis have yet to invade, a young girl dreams of going on a great journey to Siberia, while her brother, Jesper, yearns for the warmer climes of Morocco. With a staunchly Christian mother, a father who is an unsuccessful carpenter, and a grandfather who hangs himself in a cowshed, the relationship between brother and sister flourishes. Jesper has an originality that stands out in the small community, and his sister follows as they wend their way around the town in moonlit and daytime endeavors. The bond between them creates a warmth that grows through the cold and the dark clouds that threaten to overtake their dreams. As the narrator looks back, she reflects on the harsh realities of her life and the directions in which they ted her.

It is out of small and negligible things that a life may be composed, and the beauty of Per Petterson's narrative lies in the resonances of a Ere outwardly barren but so sharply etched, so charged with meaning.

Synopsis:

I was fourteen and a half when the Germans came. On that 9th April we woke to the roar of aeroplanes swooping so low over the roofs of the town that we could see the black iron crosses painted on the underside of their wings when we leaned out of the windows and looked up.

 
In this exquisite novel, readers will find the crystalline prose and depth of feeling they adored in Out Stealing Horses, a literary sensation of 2007.
 
A brother and sister are forced ever more closely together after the suicide of their grandfather. Their parents neglect leaves them wandering the streets of their small Danish village. The sister dreams of escaping to Siberia, but it seems increasingly distant as she helplessly watches her brother become more and more involved in resisting the Nazis.

About the Author

Per Petterson won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel Out Stealing Horses, which has been translated into more than thirty languages and was named a Best Book of 2007 by the New York Times.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

wewells, January 7, 2009 (view all comments by wewells)
Out Stealing Horses was by far my favorite book of 2007 so the bar was set quite high when sitting down to read To Siberia by Per Petterson. I was not disappointed.
Quite different from OSH, Petterson's poetic writing style still took me away to a new place and time, this time to Denmark where I met a young girl and her family. Her story spans several years and is told from her perspective as her future self, many years hence, but the story begins as she is a young girl, just before WWII.
In addition to Petterson's lyrical prose, what brings his books alive for me are his characters, each one is fully realized and multifaceted. I loved Jesper, the brother – adventurous & ready to champion a cause (and he loves to tease his beloved Sistermine), but the real gem in this story is Sistermine - such a complex character that I can't wait to let a bit of time pass so I can pick up this story again and reread it – a chance to discover even more about this unique, nomadic soul…
This book that would do well in a book club or discussion setting, but even if you just read this on your own, your mind will wander back again and again, long after you've read that last page.
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(9 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
mgdallas, November 23, 2008 (view all comments by mgdallas)
And he scores again! Petterson has written another book that I will keep near to my heart. Spare writing, telling the story of sister and brother, before, during, and after the Nazi invasion of Denmark. More a story of family than the war.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
readersrespite, October 26, 2008 (view all comments by readersrespite)
The newly released To Siberia, by award-winning author Per Petterson, is a poignant story of a young girl and her brother growing up in northern Denmark during World War II and the life-altering ramifications following the Nazi invasion of Denmark.

The sparse, almost poetically written story is recounted by a 60 year-old woman looking back on her childhood and her special closeness to her older brother. Growing up in hard economic times in a remote part of Denmark with a family focused on survival left little room for love and nurture. The siblings learn to rely on each other instead and like all children growing up in small towns, they dream of the day they will leave: our narrator dreams of taking the Trans-Siberian railroad, while her brother longs for the day he can leave for Morocco.

Family tragedy forces the narrator to rely even more on her brother and later, as he becomes more involved in the Nazi resistance, his actions will lead to events that will change not only the directions their lives take, but also their perceptions of the world and the people in it. This is as much a tale of how events shape the person we become as it is a stark coming-of-age story.

Concentration on the part of the reader is mandatory: time and place will change quickly, often within a single sentence. You will not find a comprehensive history of the Nazi invasion of Denmark here. The novel is more like a series of snapshots which, when pieced together, reveal the personal consequences of an historical event.

If you are looking for a quick, easily digestible read this is not the book you are looking for. But if you are willing to put in the effort, you will be rewarded with beautifully written passages that will stay with you for a lifetime.
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(6 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975067
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Petterson, Per
Translator:
Born, Anne
Author:
Born, Anne
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Separation (Psychology)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080930
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.5 x 0.675 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

To Siberia: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975067 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Petterson's Danish seascape is gorgeous, the lives of his characters are meticulously rendered, and his tracing of their lives is perfect. Guaranteed to take your breath away, To Siberia quietly tells the story of a lovely and innocent childhood opening like a flower in a storm.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This 1996 novel predates Pettersen's acclaimed Out Stealing Horses (first published in 2003), and has all of Pettersen's haunted charms. As an unnamed young girl and her big brother, Jesper (who calls her 'Sistermine'), grow up in rural WWII-era Denmark, the two cope with distant parents, an eccentric extended family and the cold wind. Jesper longs to go south to Morocco; Sistermine yearns for the plains of Siberia, foreshadowing lives that will diverge. Their grandfather's suicide, the arrival of puberty and most tragically, the German invasion change their idyllic childhood relationship; as each sibling fights back against the occupation in his or her own way, their inevitable separation looms. The second half of the novel, in which Sistermine struggles to make sense of her life in various Scandinavian cities and towns, awaiting a hoped-for reunion with Jesper, is less breathtaking and mesmerizing than the first, but the contrast makes her numb loneliness and inability to connect all the more poignant. The book builds up slowly, casting a spell of beauty and devastation that matches the bleak but dazzling climate that enshrouds Sistermine's young life." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A spare, lyrical novel from Norwegian author Petterson that possesses historical breadth and a remarkable sense of immediacy."
"Review" by , "The author of a story collection and an earlier novel, Norwegian writer Petterson is an outstanding talent. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Like Out Stealing Horses...this work coaxes readers into a sphere of loneliness with the precise prose and keen intellect of a masterful writer."
"Review" by , "To Siberia succeeds in one of the greatest aims of fiction, to transport us to another time and place that make us see our world with clearer vision, and to recognize the similarities and differences of human nature, across time and distance."
"Review" by , "[C]hronicles the coming of age of the younger sister in a family characterized by poverty and the bleak beauty of a landscape where frost seems to seep in 'after someone has hanged themselves or taken their life in some other way.'"
"Review" by , "Petterson creates humor alongside wild frozen seascapes, miraculous detail in clover and marram grass."
"Review" by , "[A] darkly beautiful story, an evocation of the grim equanimity of the Danish people, the fierce and constant weather and the childish idea that we could possibly save each other from the world."
"Review" by , "Petterson's writing is so exact and piercing that, like poetry, it distills her experiences and feelings into imagery that is powerful beyond its words."
"Synopsis" by , In Danish Jutland, where the sea freezes over and the Nazis have yet to invade, a young girl dreams of going on a great journey to Siberia, while her brother, Jesper, yearns for the warmer climes of Morocco. With a staunchly Christian mother, a father who is an unsuccessful carpenter, and a grandfather who hangs himself in a cowshed, the relationship between brother and sister flourishes. Jesper has an originality that stands out in the small community, and his sister follows as they wend their way around the town in moonlit and daytime endeavors. The bond between them creates a warmth that grows through the cold and the dark clouds that threaten to overtake their dreams. As the narrator looks back, she reflects on the harsh realities of her life and the directions in which they ted her.

It is out of small and negligible things that a life may be composed, and the beauty of Per Petterson's narrative lies in the resonances of a Ere outwardly barren but so sharply etched, so charged with meaning.

"Synopsis" by ,
I was fourteen and a half when the Germans came. On that 9th April we woke to the roar of aeroplanes swooping so low over the roofs of the town that we could see the black iron crosses painted on the underside of their wings when we leaned out of the windows and looked up.

 
In this exquisite novel, readers will find the crystalline prose and depth of feeling they adored in Out Stealing Horses, a literary sensation of 2007.
 
A brother and sister are forced ever more closely together after the suicide of their grandfather. Their parents neglect leaves them wandering the streets of their small Danish village. The sister dreams of escaping to Siberia, but it seems increasingly distant as she helplessly watches her brother become more and more involved in resisting the Nazis.
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