Ash in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes

One of my goals for 2015 is to read more.  Check out the other books I've read this year herehere, and here

The fourth book I've read this year is Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes by Per Petterson. I borrowed this book from the Brooklyn Public Library.  

I found this Ashes in My Mouth... using my favorite book finding method in the library (or book stores)  which is just wondering around the stacks until I see something that looks interesting. The little format and color scheme of this book cover got my attention. Per Petterson is a Norwegian novelist and this short book of ten stories that all string together was his first work. 

Arvid Jansen is a boy who moved out of the city and he's not sure he likes it. He is disillusioned with his father's new job, his own nightmares, and the idea of growing old. Although only seven, he feels he knows as much as adults and should be treated as such. But death and sex are still a mystery to him. 

This book reads like someone remembering what they think childhood was like. Arvid's thoughts are too complex for a seven year old, but exactly how we remember being seven was. Although these stories read as if a memoir, Petterson uses this character in several of his later novels, so it is unclear how autobiographical it is. I liked this book, it was moody and disjointed in an appealing way. I would be interested in trying some of Petterson's longer novels. I would recommend this book to people who like coming of age stories, have daddy issues, or like short books.  

Have you read anything by Per Petterson?