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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
In the Wake

In the Wake

A Novel

Per Petterson



When Arvid Jansen comes-to one morning in the doorway of a bookstore in Oslo, Norway, his grief comes back to him in devastating flashes: His parents and his brothers are dead, he has lost touch with his wife and daughters, abandoned his career as a writer and bookseller. His old life is gone.

In the Wake is the story of Arvid's first steps toward resuming that life, of his gradual confrontation with everything he lost and ultimately with his own role in the disaster that killed his family.

Told with the insight and moral force of his countryman Knut Hamsun, In the Wake is the American debut of a treasured European writer.

Chapter One
It was something to do with a face. I had never seen it
before, yet I did recognise it, but as it comes to me now,
the thought of it is unpleasant. Someone gave me a gin.
I had had enough already. I see my hand around the

Praise for In the Wake

“Per Petterson demonstrates, through his own commanding art, the solace of the written word as well as the necessity of human connection. It is understandable why European readers have long admired his work.” —The New York Times

“This riveting story is as universal as love and death . . . Holds the reader in a hypnotic thrall.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Petterson's words have a music reminiscent of W. G. Sebald.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A profound novel. Masterfully written.” —Library Journal

“An impressive American debut.” —Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

Per Petterson

Per Petterson was a librarian and bookseller before publishing his first book in 1987. In the Wake was the first of his novels to be published in the U.S. Out Stealing Horses, his second novel, was published by Graywolf Press in 2007. He lives in Oslo, Norway.

image of Per Pettersono
Torunn Momtazi

Per Petterson


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