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Extended Audio Sample I Curse the River of Time, by Per Petterson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Per Petterson Narrator: Jefferson Mays Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Norway, 1989. Communism is unraveling all over Europe. Arvid Jansen, thirty-seven years of age, is trying to bridge the yawning gulf that opened up years earlier between himself and his mother. He is in the throes of a divorce, and she has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Over a few intense autumn days, Arvid struggles to find a new footing in his life. As he attempts to negotiate the present changes around him, he casts his mind back to holidays on the beach with his brothers, and to the early days of his courtship with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Most importantly, he revisits the idealism of his communist youth, when he chose the factory floor over the college education his mother had struggled so hard to provide. Back then, Arvid’s loyalty to his working-class background outweighed his mother’s wish for him to escape it.

As Petterson’s masterful narrative shifts effortlessly through the years, we see Arvid tentatively circling his mother, unable to tell her what she already knows he is thinking. In its piercing portrait of their layered relationship, I Curse the River of Time bears all the hallmarks of Petterson’s compassion for humanity that has won him readers the world over.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Petterson tells another poignant, harrowing and sometimes comic story of a man coming to terms with his dying mother, his failures (job, marriage) and his failures in the eyes of his mother: ‘You squirt!’ But mother and son are bound by feelings and memories for which even the word ‘love’ doesn’t do justice.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “All the inevitability of life, its fragile glue and the doubts that stalk the survivors are summoned and considered in Petterson’s candid, allusive fiction. There is no easy sentiment, only genuine emotional power. His tender new novel is as masterfully evocative as In the Wake and Out Stealing Horses, as gentle as To Siberia, and as exceptional as all three.”

    Irish Times

  • “[A] melancholy novel…Fans—and curious newcomers—will snap it up.” 


  • “[Petterson] deftly alternates between present and past…His prose is elegant and spare.”


  • Selected for the August 2010 Indie Next List
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jeb | 5/19/2011

    " I didn't enjoy this one as much as 'Out Stealing Horses' or 'In the Wake,' but I have to say that this book has stayed with me. Certain scenes are still very clear in my mind. So it gets four stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tania | 4/28/2011

    " Randomly chosen from my piles and it is book 47 of 2011 - aim 133 books in 2011. Yay for books!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joshua | 4/27/2011

    " Bleak, meandering Norwegian fiction. Permit me to summarize: cigarettes, alcohol, strained parental relationships, divorce, cancer. And a less-than-compelling translation to boot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Llalan | 4/25/2011

    " This author and this translator are unbeatable. I'll read anything they put out. "

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