A powerful and heart-rending novel based on Per Petterson's personal tragedy of losing many of his family in the sinking of the Estonia
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Arvid has lost his parents and his two younger brothers in a ferry accident. Only he and his brother are left alive. The novel he is writing about his father is stalled, the grief and guilt he feels at having survived are too overwhelming. It is as though Arvid has become dislocated from the flow of life. His only human contact is with his Kurdish neighbour, and a woman whom he glimpses in the flat across the street, whose face seems to mirror his own loneliness and loss. Then slowly, the memories begin to return: of his childhood, of his father, of his two younger brothers. He begins to write again. Poignant, restrained, and at times unbearably moving, In the Wake is informed by terrible tragedy, and by man's sense of the beauty of the natural world, at times our only source of solace.
Outstanding... Disbelief, anger, despair, and a kind of dark adaptation to the undeniable succeed each other, delineated with extraordinary immediacy
Paul Binding, TLS
Powerful...compelling...stunning and deeply moving...it's exactly the kind of novel we need right now
John Burnside, Scotland on Sunday
Delineates with powerful delicacy the struggle to bear the unbearable
Independent on Sunday
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Per Petterson was born in Oslo in 1952 and worked for several years as an unskilled labourer and a bookseller. He made his literary breakthrough in 2003 with the prizewinning novel Out Stealing Horses ...