Echoland by Per petterson

Echoland by Per Petterson

Norwegian Fiction

Original title – Ekkoland

Translator – Don Bartlett

I was in the library the other day looking for some new books to read that may be on the Man booker international longlist when it comes out next month. Per Petterson won the old IFFP prize in 2006. This is his debut novel which has been translated into english for the first time it is nice to see that  it has been but a shame that it has taken over ten years since the success of Our stealing horse and twenty years since this book itself came out. But that said time hasn’t effect this book no it has a timeless nature to it .

They sailed across the sea to Denmark. Along the Fjord the bonfires lit up the summer evening and Avrid stood by the railing gazing twoards land, pretending they were stars. The lights rose and fell and they shone on the water and he heard laughter and singing from the shore, but the ship was quiet

maybe the last line of the opening paragraph should be a hint of what is in fromt of him

Echoland is the story of Avrid , he is twelve and like many lads of his age is just become an adult. he is on his yearly family holiday to Denmark to the small island that his grandmother lives on . But he has reached an age where this small island is maybe to small . He captures a couple in the dunes in the middle of the act . He also sees the tension between his mother and Grandmother that he has never seen before , the family coping with the loss of a child  and meanwhile we see a young man struggling to cope with his growing up that awkward sense you have as a chap at that age. Then there is the outfall of previous visits and then we also in the ending what his raging Hormones drive him too.

He wasn’t alone. Some distance away a man was jumping up and down in the water. the man was laughing out loud, and the Avrid saw the man wasn’t  on his own either. A knee was stuck up on either side of his chest above the water and when the man turned Avrid saw her face against his neck. Her long dark hair hung straight down, heavy and wet . She was quite still, clinging to the man and Avrid walked off through the water in the opposite direction, back to the rushes .

Avrid sees a couple up to more than he expected in the beach as he wandered .

I loved this the book Avrid has been in another Petterson book I read and I also know is in another i have yet to read  so he is a character that he revisit through his life. This is like the year after stand by me , I remember the lines in Stand by me about being a boy before you see girls well this is the year after that when hormones get you at the worst times . This is a classic growing up story but like many young men we miss sometimes the world around us the deep scars in his parents relationship that he doesn’t really see. I remember my own youth when my own parents split i was ten but for years I never really saw the fall out in their own lives till I had grown up in retrospective. I remember the years I was like Avrid a holiday in Spain about the same age when I had just discovered girls and my hormones where raging so could connect with some of the situations Avirid finds himself .I wouldn’t been shocked to see this on the Man booker .

Have you a favourite Per Petterson ?

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. roughghosts
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 18:30:05

    Thanks for this Stu! Per Petterson is one of my favourite writers—I Refuse probably just eases out Out Stealing Horses as my favourite of his books. I had missed this one though I see it’s in the bookstores. However in hardcover it is outside my price range. Like you I will take it from the library. I just put a copy on hold.

    Reply

    • winstonsdad
      Feb 09, 2017 @ 18:32:57

      Mine is library copy although uk edition not so expensive

      Reply

      • roughghosts
        Feb 09, 2017 @ 19:25:50

        Ours is also the UK edition (with his books we tend to get both, but a US edition will likely not be available for some time). It’s over $30. Even the e-book is very expensive. Of course, I just ended up requesting more than several titles from the library which I hardy need with all the books I have on hand!

  2. BookerTalk
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 21:13:23

    Ive never read anything by Petterson – I see from Jacqui’s comments that it would be good to begin with I Refuse. Would you agree Stu?

    Reply

  3. fulcherkim
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 21:53:49

    Out Stealing Horses or To Siberia for me. But agree you can start anywhere.

    Reply

  4. Lisa Hill
    Feb 09, 2017 @ 21:57:30

    I like Per Petterson too, and am always pleased when a new one comes along:)
    But I’m curious: when you say that you were browsing at the library – do they have a special shelf for translations, or do you just find them amongst all the other new books? (My library puts them in with everything else, so if I don’t notice them on the new books shelf, they disappear for me until I read a review online and then use the catalogue to reserve them.)

    Reply

  5. Sarah
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 08:41:47

    I’ve not yet read any Petterson, but ‘Out Stealing Horses’ has been on and off my shelves for months now, almost getting read but in the end getting pipped by something else. Well, you’ve convinced me to desist no longer. It’ll be my next read.

    Reply

  6. Victoria Blake
    Feb 10, 2017 @ 17:01:52

    I love Petterson. Thanks for flagging this one up.

    Reply

  7. kimbofo
    Feb 11, 2017 @ 10:59:39

    Oh, I thought Ashes in my Mouth was his first one? I’ve read almost everything he’s written that has been translated, except for this one and I Refuse. My favourite, or certainly the one that sticks in my mind the most, is In the Wake. He’s a fascinating writer … he seems stuck in Arvid (who is obviously him) and has told his story (in slightly different ways and at different times in his life) at least 6 times now 😉

    Reply

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