"Reading a Petterson novel is like falling into a northern landscape painting—all shafts of light and clear palpable chill." —Time
Fans of Per Petterson's other books in English will be delighted by this opportunity to observe Arvid Jansen in his youth from a fresh perspective. In It's Fine By Me, Arvid befriends a boy named Audun. On Audun's first day of school he refuses to talk or take off his sunglasses; there are stories he would prefer to keep to himself. Audun lives with his mother in a working-class district of Oslo. He delivers newspapers and talks for hours about Jack London and Ernest Hemingway with Arvid. But he's not sure that school is the right path for him and feels that life holds other possibilities. Sometimes tender, sometimes brutal, It's Fine By Me is a brilliant novel from the acclaimed author of Out Stealing Horses and I Curse the River of Time.
Part of Petterson's backlist (which is being published in English following the breakout success of Out Stealing Horses), this spare but memorable novel features Arvid Jansen, the protagonist of I Curse the River of Time, as the only friend of Audun Sletten, a young man whose reticence conceals a wellspring of feeling. Not a lot happens in the novel: a teenage Audun moves to Oslo and a new school; allows himself to be befriended by Arvid; reads Hemingway and dreams of becoming a writer; remembers his dead brother, Egil, and his cruel father; and tries to take care of those he loves his mother, his sister, and his friend without showing too much emotion. Fans of Petterson will recognize his confident prose, as well as his concern with solitude and the essential privacy of experience, but one need not be familiar with the author's oeuvre to appreciate his precise storytelling. Petterson's achievement in this work lies in conveying the passionate alienation of a young man caught between a childish need for protection and a powerful desire to protect. Rights director: Jane Kirby, Random House.