To Siberia

Petterson, Per: Til Sibir

In the bitter cold of 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. Jesper is the most important person in the young girl's life, but he leaves the country, and the girl herself moves to Oslo, where she wanders the streets without knowing anyone.

The reader experiences everything through the girl's eyes, and takes part in her love for her brother, and in the tension that lies between great dreams and losses just as great. With his unmistakenly tight prose Per Petterson has created an uncommonly moving portrait of a woman.

Praise for To Siberia:

 Editor's choice, New York Times Book Review, 17.10.2008

"a brilliant re-creation of 'Hansel and Gretel' ... 'To Siberia' is 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."
 (LA Times Book Review)

"In its best, most lucent moments, “To Siberia” evokes the same reflective grandeur that made “Out Stealing Horses” burn so brightly … rife with beautifully incantatory moments"
 (New York Times)

Beautifully rendered ... a heartbreaking portrait of lost possibilities."
 (Time Out New York)

"Cast(s) a spell of beauty and devastation ... dazzling."
 (Publisher's Weekly, starred review)

"One of Petterson's true gifts, and one of the most striking parallels between OUT STEALING HORSES and TO SIBERIA, is his uncanny ability to present an allegory of epic scope without compromising his quietly lyrical tone ... TO SIBERIA is a brilliant portrait and an unsettling reminder that, in the struggle that defeated Fascism, there was also a price paid by untold millions of individuals whose sacrifice was less visible—solitary, cold—but just as significant."
 (Words without Borders)

“… a stronger novel than [OUT STEALING HORSES]… one of the most thought-provoking and cohesive books I’ve read in the past few years … Petterson’s extended syntax allows warmth to penetrate even the bleakest statements”
 (Kara Riopelle, Harvard Book Review)

"Wonderfully unpretentious, very tender and very endearing"
 (Die Zeit, Hamburg)

"One of the last decade's most moving novels"
 (The Guardian, Manchester)

"This is well-written and well-told, excellently conceived and composed (...) This is realism to get high on"
 (Jacob Kreutzfeldt, Kulturnyt/Danishing Broadcasting Corp.)

"Norwegian Per Petterson's To Siberia deserves a place among the great novels that describe the occupation"
 (Kristeligt Dagblad, Copenhagen)

"It is all of it beautifully and simply portrayed, a series of masterly narrated, precise passages revealing not the slightest unsteadiness of hand. Read it - and read it again, for there is warmth behind the modest exterior"
 (Henrik Schovsbo, Fyens Stiftstidende, Odense)

"Per Petterson writes amazingly well; the words flow, the story is well made, the characters vivid and believable."
 (litteratursiden.dk)

First published 1996, Forlaget Oktober
 Per Petterson:   Biography and bibliography

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