A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
It’s 1989 and “three monumental events twine around one another in Arvid Jansen’s penumbral soul. His fifteen-year marriage is dissolving, his mother is dying of cancer, and the Berlin Wall is tumbling down. The parallels are obvious—worlds are ending, internally and externally—but the analogies Petterson draws among these dramatic endings are not....I Curse the River of Time is a little like the starker reaches of the West, a little like the stonier shores of Maine, a little like Edward Hopper, a little like Raymond Carver....There is a quality that I can only call charm, or something like charm, to Petterson’s essentially dark and lonely sensibility....It exerts a gravitational pull on the reader” (Stacey D’Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review).
All this happened quite a few years ago. My mother had been unwell for some time. To put a stop to my brothers’ nagging and my father’s especially, she finally went to see the doctor she always saw, the doctor my family had used since the dawn of time. He must have been ancient at that point for I cannot recall ever not visiting him, nor an I recall him ever being young. I used him myself even though I now lived a good distance away.
After a brief check-up, this old family doctor swiftly referred her to Aker Hospital for further examination. Having
“Like an emotional sucker punch...Petterson blends enough hope with the gorgeously evoked melancholy to come up with a heartbreaking and cautiously optimistic work.” —The Denver Post
“Petterson’s prose contains a sneaky, insidious beauty...his sentences can stop your breathing and leave tears welling up...[and] his readers will find that they’re in the hands of a master whose quiet, unforgettable voice leaves you yearning to hear more.” —Chuck Leddy, The Boston Globe
“I Curse the River of Time hits the mark....It’s complex and rich...a subtle meditation on the long, unstoppable river of time” —Heller McAlpin, NPR’s “Books We Like”
“Petterson’s writing has returned to its artistic home, and what’s more, returned to it with greater maturity and confidence....Here he is absolutely courageous.” —Rachel Cusk, USA Today