Fans of Per Petterson will be delighted by this opportunity to observe Arvid Jansen in his youth from a fresh perspective. In It's Fine By Me, Arvid befriends a boy named Audun. On Audun's first day of school, he refuses to talk or take off his sunglasses; there are stories he would prefer to keep to himself. Audun lives with his mother in a working-class district of Oslo. He delivers newspapers and talks for hours about Jack London and Ernest Hemingway with Arvid. But he's not sure that school is the right path for him and feels that life holds other possibilities. Sometimes tender, sometimes brutal, It's Fine By Me is a brilliant novel from an acclaimed author.
"Fans of Petterson will recognize his confident prose, as well as his concern with solitude and the essential privacy of experience, but one need not be familiar with the author's oeuvre to appreciate his precise storytelling. Petterson's achievement in this work lies in conveying the passionate alienation of a young man caught between a childish need for protection and a powerful desire to protect." (Publishers Weekly)
"With biting humor and sharp, Hemingway-like prose, this bildungsroman offers more light and hope than later Petterson novels, perhaps reflecting the author's younger, more idealistic self. Perfect for YA crossover or an intergenerational book discussion." (Library Journal)
"It's Fine By Me...convey[s] those ordinary experiences close to Petterson's heart: the pleasure, for example, in the midst of domestic strife, of slowly and very carefully rolling a good cigarette, brewing the perfect coffee and settling down on the sofa with a fine book, like this one." (The Guardian, UK)
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A Bit Much Adolescent
- Jeff Virant