Random book purchases can sometimes lead to surprisingly great reading pleasure. I was initially drawn to Out Stealing Horses, a novel by the Norwegian author Per Petterson, published in 2003 (Vintage), by the title and the haunting cover image of a horse standing in front of a dilapidated cabin enshrouded by fog. Trond, the sixty-seven-year-old protagonist of Out Stealing Horses, has recently moved from Oslo to spend the remainder (how long, who knows) of his life in a cabin in a remote part of Norway. The cabin also happens to be where Trond spent his fifteenth summer with his father, chopping trees to sell downriver in Sweden. Trond begins the summer of his fifteenth year as an innocent boy with his father (his best friend) at his side. The pair chop wood, wake, sleep, carouse and pretty much spend all their time together, further strengthening the father-son bond. Yet around this seemingly idyllic scene, life is becoming unsettled. The fallout from a tragic death, and the conflict, animosity and loyalty forged during the five-year German occupation of Norway, play out among the adults. Trond is oblivious to how the intricacies of the adult world affect him. By the time he steps on the bus to return to Oslo at the end of August, his boy’s life has been dramatically altered. Out Stealing Horses deconstructs the relationship of a son and his father: son becomes man; father becomes imperfect man. The adult Trond is obsessed with detail, and the influence of his father’s ghost is evident. Despite his examination of his father’s behaviour, Trond’s life very much mirrors his father’s: the past is reflected in the present. The son suffers still as a man, no matter how noble his father’s intentions so many years before. The summer of 1948 likely traumatized Trond as much as the German occupation had traumatized his parents. Out Stealing Horses is deliciously satisfying—I read it twice just to experience the agony of the foreshadowing.