I Curse the River of Time: A Novel
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
It's 1989 and "three monumental events twine around one another in Arvid Jansen's penumbral soul. His fifteen-year marriage is dissolving, his mother is dying of cancer, and the Berlin Wall is tumbling down. The parallels are obvious―worlds are ending, internally and externally―but the analogies Petterson draws among these dramatic endings are not....I Curse the River of Time is a little like the starker reaches of the West, a little like the stonier shores of Maine, a little like Edward Hopper, a little like Raymond Carver....There is a quality that I can only call charm, or something like charm, to Petterson's essentially dark and lonely sensibility....It exerts a gravitational pull on the reader" (Stacey D'Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review).
thinking, does he want me to leave? ‘That’s what I’ll do then,’ Hansen said, and then he got up and drained the rest of his beer, and said: ‘You can stay here where it’s warm. You’re always welcome.’ And he went into the bedroom at the back of Crystal Palace with his revolutionary cloth still hanging from his back pocket. Always welcome. I stood with the bottle in my hand. I did not know if I should go or sit down again and maybe read a bit of Three Comrades. But the air was heavy in there, too
who worked in a firm importing French cars and was the creepy owner of a 8mm camera he used for all kinds of things, and my grandparents would also come, their palms worn and hard, from another, more puritanical town in the same country, in the same fashion, by ferry, grey hair, grey clothes, standing windswept and grey on the quay waiting for my father to come down along Trondhjemsveien in a rare taxi to pick them up and sometimes I, too, was in that taxi and they looked so small next to their
distance away. After a brief check-up, this old family doctor swiftly referred her to Aker Hospital for further examination. Having been for several, no doubt painful, tests in rooms painted white, painted apple green, at the big hospital near the Sinsen junction on the side of Oslo I always like to think of as our side, the east side that is, she was told to go home and wait two weeks for the results. When they finally arrived, three weeks later rather than two, it turned out that she had
pink flowers, like the scarves my mother had seen old Russian women wear, and I suppose that is what I am, she thought. An old woman. The door opened and they stepped outside, their scarves tight around their heads, and the old woman pulled the door behind her, turned and looked towards the car where we were sitting, and for some reason she locked the door, but I don’t think it had anything to do with us. They came down with their hands in their coat pockets and started to walk, away from the
some time I pulled the tobacco pouch from my pocket and rolled a cigarette, then I rolled another and offered it to Hansen. ‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘I don’t mind if I do,’ and I lit them both and we smoked and damnit, it tasted good. ‘What do you think they’re talking about?’ I said. ‘That’s not hard to guess,’ said Hansen. ‘They’re talking about her time here when your brother was born. The one who came before you. This is where it happened, you know.’ ‘I know. You just told me. In a way I have