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"Per Petterson is well-known to us as the best-selling author of Out Stealing Horses, which also won the Internation IMPAC Dublin Literary award, has been translated into forty-nine languages, and was named Best Book of 2007 by the New York Times Book Review. This is a startlingly beautiful collection of ten stories that portray childhood with the complexity and sensitivity that it deserves.On the outskirts of Oslo in the early sixties, we read through the life of Arvid Jansen, a bed wetter, and son of a shoe factory worker and Danish cleaner. In the shadow of THE WAR and the looming threat of nuclear conflict, we follow Arvid through the struggles of daily life. Petterson’s stories build upon one another, mounting Arvid’s experiences as the softness we first encounter in Arvid hardens. They have a gentle, captivating power, like the familiar scent of a parents’ room. Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes softly carries us through young Arvid’s life and understanding, patching together the scenes that make up a childhood."— Ben
The heartwarming debut that brought Per Petterson, the author of the highly acclaimed Out Stealing Horses, to prominence
Young Arvid Jansen lives on the outskirts of Oslo. It's the early sixties; his father works in a shoe factory and his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid has nightmares about crocodiles and still wets his bed at night, but slowly he begins to understand the world around him. Vivid images accompany each new event: A photo of his mother as a young woman makes him cry as he realizes how time passes, and the black car that comes to collect his father on the day Arvid's grandfather dies reminds him of the passing of his bullfinch. And then, one morning, his teacher tells his class to pray because a nuclear war is looming. Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes, Per Petterson's debut, in which he introduces Arvid Jansen to the world, is a delicate portrait of childhood in all its complexity, wonder, and confusion that will delight fans of Out Stealing Horses and new readers alike.