“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is It Just Us? # 201: OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petterson

It’s won top prizes and very probably outsold the Mac by now, but seriously folks – why all the fuss over OUT STEALING HORSES? Recommended to your humble hosts by a good friend whose opinion we very much value, the silence-exile-cunning schtick seemed like our kind of thing. And yes, there’s a gamin appeal to the contemporary Grizzly Adams-style retreat to the wilderness, but we made it halfway through the book with only an accidental death and the possibility of illicit affair to sustain the narrative. There’s plenty of walking the dog to be had, and any amount of reverie about how beautiful the Norwegian landscape is, and stout, yeomanly prose frustratingly reminiscent of a callow Cormac McCarthy. But reasons to keep reading in the hope of a unique experience that might justify all the hype? Nary a one. We’re not trying to be obtuse, believe it or not – we just don’t get it. Can anyone help?