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Ekkoland

Twelve year old Arvid and his family are on holiday staying with his grandparents in Denmark Confused by the underlying tension between his mother and grandmother Arvid is grappli. No one could hurt him no one could reach him he could go wherever he wanted 25 stars for this early coming of age novel but 5 for the author s oeuvre and my review will focus as much on Echoland in the context of the wider work as it does on it as a standalone piecePer Petterson is one of my absolute favourite authors and this is his 8th book to be translated into English all of which I have read However it was his first novel and second book after the story collection Ashes in My Mouth Sand in My Shoes to be written in the original Norwegian and as with that book it is an early work as not as stylistically developed as his later masterpieces from To Siberia on notably the IFFP and Impac winning Out Stealing Horses For my own benefit as much as anything his fiction is as follows with the dates of English translations following1987 Aske i munnen sand i skoa short stories translated as Ashes in My Mouth Sand in My Shoes 2011 by Don Bartlett1989 Ekkoland translated as Echoland 2016 by Don Bartlett1992 Det er greit for meg translated as It s Fine By Me 2011 by Don Bartlett1996 Til Sibir translated as To Siberia 1998 by Anne Born2002 I kj lvannet translated as In the Wake 2002 by Anne Born2003 Ut og stj le heste translated as Out Stealing Horses 2005 by Anne Born2008 Jeg forbanner tidens elv translated as I Curse the River of Time 2010 by Charlotte Barslund2012 Jeg nekter translated as I Refuse 2014 by Don Bartlettand since writing this review2018 Menn i min situasjon as yet untranslated but rights sold to GraywolfHarvill SeckerThe 2004 non fiction M nen over Porten which could be rendered The Moon over the Gate is as yet untranslated into English but contains Petterson s observations about reading and writing novels where he discusses his favourite authors such as Simone De Beauvoir reading aged 17 her Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter was a key moment for him Ernest Hemingway Louis Ferdinand C line Karen Blixen Kjell Askildsen Grace Paley John Fante Raymond Carver Ola Bauer Aksel Sandemose and Paul BowlesOne recurring character in Petterson s work is Arvid Jansen He s not my alter ego he s my stunt man Things happen to him that could have happened to me but didn t He has my mentalitySource An Arvid character features albeit not always with an identical history as a 6yo in Ashes in My Mouth Sand in My Shoes turning 12 years old in this novel aged c13 in It s Fine By Me although the story is told from the perspective of Arvid s friend aged 37 but looking back to his late teens in I Curse the River of Time and aged 43 in In The Wake He is absent from To Siberia albeit this is based on Petterson s mother who has a similar background to Arvid s Out Stealing Horses and I RefuseEcholand was written in October 1989 Reading it in April 1990 his mother told him Well I hope the next one won t be that childish which were the last words she spoke to him as a week later she and Petterson s father brother and nephew all died in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster while travelling from Oslo to Frederikshavn in Jutland Denmark his mother s family hometown In In The Wake Arvid suffers a similar tragedy Echoland also opens and closes with a less tragic family ferry journey from Oslo where Arvid s family live to Jutland where they visit his maternal grandparents each summerThe title is taken from a poem Poul la Cour a Danish wind turbine pioneerAa Ekkoland hvor Luften har gemte Spor har Svar rughvide Land min Barndoms hvasse Sted svimmelt af Luft og Jord Oh Echoland where the air has hidden traces has answers rye white land my childhood s happy abode giddy with earth and airArvid s mother s line is descended from Bruno a Neopolitan engineer who worked his way North across Europe ending up in Denmark where he helped build the Limfjordsbroen railway pontoon bridge from Alborg to Limfjordsbroen in the late 1860s then marrying a local girl And his legacy lives on in Arvid s look and temperament In each generation after him there was one Italian and when Arvid thought about him he saw an open tanned face with dark curls above it and that s how Arvid himself looked and what he didn t know about Bruno he made up And he thought you don t have to be Norwegian you can be something else somewhere else other than Oslo You can be an Italian in Denmark You can leave your own skin and be whoever you like and no one can get near you This is largely a coming of age novel but family tensions and secrets are hinted at in the tension between Arvid s mother and grandmother some suggestions of an illegitimate pregnancy in his mother s youth perhaps Arvid or his 14 yo sister Gry being the result as well as the tragedy of the Italian in the previous generation his uncle Jasper adored by Arvid s mother but who died at the same age as Jesus his mother points out in a boating accident There are certainly the hidden traces of the poem in the air but few answersAnd for Arvid himself he makes friends with Mogens 18 months older in a Tom SawyerHuck Finn type of relationship but Mogens actually seems interested in Gry who is suddenly this summer turning into a young woman Her hair was a yellow flag her shorts were green and her long legs brown with light coloured down She was his sister Gry and yet so unfamiliar he didn t know her Arvid himself has two awkward encounters with a young woman who he first spies on petting with her boyfriend and who later returns on her own and flirts with himThe same Mogens reappears in I Curse The River of Time written 19 years later and with the characters 25 years older when Arvid meets him but initially fails to recognise him on the ubiuitous ferry crossing from Oslo to Jutland seeing him only as a man there I did not like I did not like his face when he looked at me It was as if he knew something about my person that I was not aware of which for him was clear as day as if I were standing there naked with no control over what he saw nor could I see in his eyes what he saw in mine Arvid also loses himself in a world inspired by the books he reads Klit Per Pelle the Conueror Terje Vigen from Nordic literature and Huckleberry Finn and 20000 Leagues Under the Sea widely When he points out to Mogens the spot where Terje Vigen landed he gets a blank look and while his father has an extensive library his actual reading is much less extensive But he and Arvid had looked over the bookcase and knew they couldn t talk about what was there the conversation would be over before it started and he had to travel alone He did travel alone and he went wherever he wanted he skied across Greenland sailed on the GJOA through the North west Passage stood two years before the mast in the storms around Cape Horn saw the English pounding away at the fortifications around Sevastopol with bullets whizzing round their heads and the young count who was not yet famous shouted Get under cover you young fool He lay in the grass on the banks of the Mississippi and saw Huck Finn get on board the raft with the fish they were going to fry on the fire and with Martin Eden he walked into the bourgeois houses of San Francisco afraid his broad shoulders would knock over all the porcelain over when he turned round and he didn t even know how to eat with a knife and fork like they did but decided he would learn everything that they knew and And he rowed with Terje Vigen from Norway to Denmark because his wife and children were starving and he made land right here with aching hands and fingers that couldn t be straightened after all those freezing hours grasping the oars He must have been exhausted and his back stiff as a board but pleased too as he rowed back with what he came for And then he strayed into the English blockade and everything was lost Who was he then Who Terje Vigen Forget it Arvid said Overall an early work and not as sophisticated as his later brilliant novels Best read as it has been translated after the later works to add to the picture of Arvid Jansen s life and Per Petterson s development as a novelist

review ç eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Ñ Per Petterson

E his new found freedom fuels his desire to experience life Echoland is a subtle and truthful snapshot of growing up with an emotional depth that lingers long after its final page. Summer in Denmark is the setting Beautiful sea wide skies beach bikes what s not to likeIf you are just twelve a boy unsettled with his family confused about changes with his feelings and body it s maybe not so great Arvid and his mom dad and sister go by boat to stay with his mom s parents for a holiday This seems like an annual thing but there are underlying currents of tension between the adults angers long buried secrets and all this spills over making Arvid act out and recklessly soBeautiful imagery language complicated characters Newly translated in 2016 but published in 1989 Echoland is still very much a theme that speaks to each of us Petterson is an engaging writer so much so that while I was reading the book outside in our garden with the wind rustling the leaves of our maple tree the images of the sea gulls boats sand and brilliant sunshine so made me want to shut my eyes and enjoy the scene maybe stretch out and take a short nap Savour the momentI love this passage page 20 Arvid and Mogens raced along the road by the beach Arvid on his second hand Swithun and Mogens on his standard black Danish boneshaker with the laughably small luggage rack They stopped at the old kiosk and each bought a Giant Eskimo and pedalled on with one hand holding the ice cream and the other pointing to the sky which was fine because the bikes themselves knew where they were going As for Arvid s youthful angst we all get it The troubles in his family add a dangerous element to the mix as we find out at the endA thoughtful read one to skim back through and re visit a couple of scenes and pages Poignant Moving A very very good book Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods of growing up with an emotional depth that lingers long after its final page. Summer in Denmark is the setting Beautiful sea wide skies beach bikes what s not to likeIf you are just twelve a boy unsettled with his family confused about changes with his feelings and body it s maybe not so great Arvid and his mom dad and sister go by boat to stay with his mom s parents for a holiday This seems like an annual thing but there are underlying currents Crust From Sourdough Spelt and Rye Bread to Ciabatta Bagels and Brioche of tension between the adults angers long buried secrets and all this spills Til Death Do Us Part (Vows, over making Arvid act Mensa Riddles Conundrums out and recklessly soBeautiful imagery language complicated characters Newly translated in 2016 but published in 1989 Echoland is still very much a theme that speaks to each Julie of the Wolves of us Petterson is an engaging writer so much so that while I was reading the book The Right Swipe outside in Touched our garden with the wind rustling the leaves Dark Prophet The Chronicles of Koa of Ugly Fish our maple tree the images The Math of Life and Death 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives of the sea gulls boats sand and brilliant sunshine so made me want to shut my eyes and enjoy the scene maybe stretch Little Gods out and take a short nap Savour the momentI love this passage page 20 Arvid and Mogens raced along the road by the beach Arvid Der Schweizerische Robinson on his second hand Swithun and Mogens Ensorcelled The Erotic Adventures of Jane in the Jungle Book 9 on his standard black Danish boneshaker with the laughably small luggage rack They stopped at the The Poems The Collected Works of W B Yeats old kiosk and each bought a Giant Eskimo and pedalled Sylvia Pankhurst on with Attack of Apollyon: Revenge of the Locusts one hand holding the ice cream and the Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere An Illustrated Introduction Tuttle Martial Arts other pointing to the sky which was fine because the bikes themselves knew where they were going As for Arvid s youthful angst we all get it The troubles in his family add a dangerous element to the mix as we find The Empirical Stance The Terry Lectures Series out at the endA thoughtful read Book of Isms one to skim back through and re visit a couple バガボンド 1 of scenes and pages Poignant Moving A very very good book

Per Petterson Ñ 8 characters

Ng with his own sense of self He’s on the cusp of becoming a teenager feeling awkward in his own skinAs Arvid cycles around town down to the beach with its view of the lighthous. It has been a while since I have read Per Pettersen I have certainly missed him and have read all the previous translations My only problem with several of his books are that they are too short and Echoland is indeed that but having said that it is up there with his very best I was surprised to read it was written than 30 years ago and yet bears those similar trademarks and pillars of his recent work Out Stealing Horses To Siberia In The WakeIt is the story of a 12 year old boy s summer holiday on the Danish coast He is a Norwegian of Italian descent and arrives with his family by yacht It is easy to identify with as many of us will have had similar holidays when we were 12 and in that respect it is a coming of age story a memorable and significant two weeks in a young boy s lifeThis is what Pettersen does so well During the two weeks much of Arvid s time is spent cycling around the coast and with a slightly older friend that he meets Mogen One time when they are at the almost deserted beach they see a young couple cavorting in what they think is privacy this is a sexual awakening for young Arvid He smokes for the first time Death plays a role also his uncle his recently died and the death of his brother after living for just a few weeks plays heavily on his mind His new friend is athletic and confident Arvid is less so with a shyness and perhaps degree of almost autism As with Out Stealing Horses and his other work there are stand out and memorable scenes for the reader as they are for the young person that have a powerful effect meeting the bull in the field fishing with Mogen and meeting the girl on the beach for exampleArvid reads as much as he can during his vacation Pelle The Conueror features highly it also is a beautiful story and another wonderful insight into Scandinavian history either of the two movies I recommend as well as the book This novella is powerful stuff and shows how much an author can cram into 100 or so pages though I think twice that would have made it even so


10 thoughts on “Ekkoland

  1. says:

    No one could hurt him no one could reach him he could go wherever he wanted 25 stars for this early coming of age

  2. says:

    Echoland was a random borrow for me from the library due to the short length and the fact this was originally written in Dan

  3. says:

    A twelve year old boy on holiday with his folks at his grandparents in Jutland He is still a child but on the cusp of his teenage years He enjoys playing with his slightly older neighbour as always but this friend seems interested in his fourteen year old sister than himTensions and undercurrents amongst the adults are noticed but understandi

  4. says:

    It has been a while since I have read Per Pettersen I have certainly missed him and have read all the previous translations My only problem with several of his books are that they are too short and Echoland is indeed that but having said that it is up there with his very best I was surprised to read it was written than 30

  5. says:

    Echoland published last year is Per Petterson’s eighth novel Like the bulk of Petterson’s work you can read all my reviews here the story is framed around a character named Arvid who has a Norwegian father and a Danish mother and is said

  6. says:

    The coastal landscape comes alive in this set of linked stories about a 12 year old boy who wakes up to the secrets and hypocrisy of his somber family The images and feelings are vivid in a way I felt was true to childhoo

  7. says:

    As usual with Per Petterson not a lot really happens and you have to read between the lines uite a lot This is his debut novel published originally in 1989 but only just recently published in English

  8. says:

    Summer in Denmark is the setting Beautiful sea wide skies beach bikes what's not to like?If you are just twelve a boy unsettled with his family confused about changes with his feelings and body it's maybe not so great Arvid and his mom dad and sister go by boat to stay with his mom's parents for a holiday This seems like an annual thing but there are underlying currents of tension between the adults angers long buried secrets and

  9. says:

    One star I’m afraid and that’s only for the descriptions of Denmark’s coast

  10. says:

    I like Petterson's work a lot and this his first novel has now been translated It's a slight work in comparison to his lat

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