To Siberia by Per Petterson

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I was fourteen and a half when the Germans came. On that 9th April we woke to the roar of aeroplanes swooping so low over the roofs of the town that we could see the black iron crosses painted on the underside of their wings when we leaned out of the windows and looked up.

In this exquisite novel, readers will find the crystalline prose and depth of feeling they adored in Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses, a literary sensation of 2007.

A brother and sister are forced ever more closely together after the suicide of their grandfather. Their parents' neglect leaves them wandering the streets of their small Danish village. The sister dreams of escaping to Siberia, but it seems increasingly distant as she helplessly watches her brother become more and more involved in resisting the Nazis.


About Per Petterson

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Per Petterson is the author of books including In the Wake, To Siberia, and I Curse the River of Time. Out Stealing Horses won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize. The New York Times Book Review named it one of the 10 best books of the year. A former bookseller, Petterson lives in Oslo, Norway.
Published August 3, 2010 by Graywolf Press. 260 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for To Siberia

Kirkus Reviews

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Magnus’s carpentry shop fails, and Marie begins to run a dairy the family must live above, but in a case of poetic justice, hoof and mouth disease eventually makes the farm worthless.

Aug 15 2008 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

The New York Times

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It would be inaccurate, and not a little rude, to suggest that the Norwegian writer Per Petterson burst out of nowhere last year with the stateside success of his novel “Out Stealing Horses”— Norway, after all, isn’t nowhere — but American readers could be forgiven for feeling that way.

Oct 10 2008 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

Publishers Weekly

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The family falls on hard times when their grandfather hangs himself, leaving behind the explanation, ""I can't go on any longer."" But the young girl endures the changes in her life, including the new rancor of the Nazi occupation of Denmark, by finding security and hope in her deepening relation...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

If the aim of fiction is to so completely engross readers that they're transported by words and grafted into the lives of fabricated people, then Per Petterson has perfected the art of spellbinding literature.

Nov 19 2008 | Read Full Review of To Siberia


The narrator, whose name we never learn, relates her story from the present moment: early on, we learn she is 60 and hasn’t seen her brother, Jesper, for half her life.

Nov 13 2009 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

Bookmarks Magazine

To Siberia, the second work of Per Petterson’s Scandinavian oeuvre, reaches the United States more than a decade after its initial publication, thanks in large part to the success of his first translated novel, Out Stealing Horses ( 4 of 5 Stars Selection Sept/Oct 2007), a New York Times Top 10 B...

Sep 28 2008 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

The New York Review of Books

“You have to say something, you must talk to her,” says Jesper from behind the wall, but I do not know what to say, all the ideas I think of are things I cannot say aloud.

Jul 17 2008 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

John Baker's Blog

Disoriented by the events of the Nazi occupation and her brother’s involvement in the resistance movement, after the war she moves to Copenhagen, to Stockholm and Gothenburg and to Oslo, eventually returning to her home town when she is still in her early twenties.

Jan 08 2007 | Read Full Review of To Siberia

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