* I Refuse by Per Petterson


In the gloomy vein of Out Stealing HorsesI Refuse is the story of two best friends who had a sudden fallout. Decades later, they meet each other again by chance and remember, in alternating chapters, their childhoods, one quite awful and violent, but with an unexpected successful ending, the other apparently peaceful and loving but with a sad outcome.

The story is told in a perfectly architected manner and with wonderful shadowy language (and some puzzling run-on sentences that I assume were in the general text rather than introduced by the translator). Still, I did not feel that the story rose above a fairly standard personal story, or great sadness about losing family and friends.

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