September's book will be Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses.
At the turning of the new millennium, a 67-year-old businessman named Trond Sander, three years a widower, has taken to living in a spare cabin in the northeast region of Norway along the Swedish border. A wild river runs nearby.
One summer, long ago, he and his father, with help from neighbors, felled some trees and floated them downstream to a Swedish sawmill. Trond tells us that was the last summer he saw his father, a quiet hero of the Norwegian resistance against the occupying Nazis. Years later, because of a chance encounter with a neighbor, Trond's mind carries him back to that fateful time for most of the course of this simple and effective novel about fathers and sons, boyhood and adulthood, work and play.
The play part gives the book its title, "Out Stealing Horses," as Trond describes how he and his pal, John, a friend from the other side of the river, make off with the horses of a local landowner and ride them to the edge of his corral. Less playful is the affair we see taking shape between Trond's father and his pal John's mother. Stunning is how I have to describe the moments when we learn that one of John's young twin brothers has taken the older boy's hunting rifle and hit the other in the heart at close range.
That's the effect of Per Petterson's award-winning novel. It hits you in the heart at close range.