Two new books were released yesterday from internationally bestselling author Per Petterson: ASHES IN MY MOUTH, SAND IN MY SHOES and I REFUSE. The two titles are true bookends, as ASHES IN MY MOUTH was Petterson’s debut in 1987 and his latest novel, I REFUSE, is a huge bestseller in his native Norway that has sold to 16 countries so far.
ASHES IN MY MOUTH, SAND IN MY SHOES is a story collection set in the early 1960s near Oslo and introduces a child named Arvid Jansen (who appears in other Petterson works) who learns that time passes and nuclear war may come.
“Each of the 10 vignettes recounts a momentous event in Arvid’s childhood; the prose is simple and spare, elegiac in tone, yet it packs a powerful punch. A bittersweet read that can be fully savored in one sitting.” — Publishers Weekly
In I REFUSE, two men meet accidentally after a dark incident on a frozen lake 35 years previously shattered their relationship. At that time, Tommy was the one with a troubled family, as Jim stood by him. Now Tommy has emerged as the success story with the new Mercedes, while Jim sits fishing alone. What happened?
“Set against a stark landscape, this is a brilliant, meditative story about how one small, impulsive act can have an irrevocable impact upon one’s life, as well as a rippling effect upon the lives of others.” — Publishers Weekly
“After the success of OUT STEALING HORSES, a new Petterson novel is bound to be highly anticipated. And this story offers fans all of the author’s signature moves, including a spare style, bleak setting, and intense focus on a boyhood friendship. Petterson evokes the frigid Norwegian cold and his characters’ corresponding melancholy in clean prose, conveying how the absence of emotion offers no protection from life’s vicissitudes.” — Booklist