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By Per Petterson

The heartwarming debut that introduced according to Petterson, the writer of the hugely acclaimed Out Stealing Horses, to prominence

Young Arvid Jansen lives at the outskirts of Oslo. it is the early sixties; his father works in a shoe manufacturing unit and his Danish mom works as a cleanser. Arvid has nightmares approximately crocodiles and nonetheless wets his mattress at evening, yet slowly he starts off to appreciate the realm round him. brilliant pictures accompany every one new occasion: a photograph of his mom as a tender girl makes him cry as he realizes how time passes, and the black motor vehicle that involves gather his father at the day Arvid's grandfather dies reminds him of the passing of his bullfinch. after which, one morning, his instructor tells his category to wish simply because a nuclear battle is looming. Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes, according to Petterson's debut, during which he introduces Arvid Jansen to the realm, is a fragile portrait of early life in all its complexity, ask yourself, and confusion that may satisfaction fanatics of Out Stealing Horses and new readers alike.

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Extra resources for Ashes in my mouth, sand in my shoes : stories

Example text

Fatso, he said. No one calls me Fatso. ’ ‘I don’t understand, Bomann,’ Mum said. ‘I’ve never heard anyone call you anything except Bomann, that’s for sure, and the boy is only eight years old. ’ Mum said, and Arvid, who was a bit annoyed with her because she was lying, was impressed too, for she lied so beautifully, she didn’t even blush, just looked at Fatso with her brown eyes in such a good-natured way, and Arvid had never heard her say anything but Fatso when they were by themselves. ’ ‘Right, Bomann, I think you should go and sit on your step and finish reading that paper of yours instead of standing here playing the bogeyman,’ Mum said as softly as she could, and then she dragged Arvid indoors for dinner and offal.

Then he undresses and turns on the shower. When the water is warm enough he lifts Arvid, takes off his underpants and carries him into the shower, holding him close to his chest while Arvid curls up and covers his face. The hot water cascades over their heads and Dad holds Arvid with one hand, washing him with the other, his face, chest, back, between his legs, feet. Arvid starts crying. It doesn’t show because of the falling water, but his dad notices a faint trembling. Then he turns off the shower and places Arvid on a stool in front of the basin, dries him gently and takes his hands away from his face.

They have done it before. A few minutes later he is on the floor. Ahead of him is the pool of light, the open door with its freedom from the darkness. Then there is a sound and he freezes, the grinding of sharp teeth and a rhythmic rustling sound. It is the tail, he can see it, swinging across the rug and it’s rustling, rustling. He can see its eyes too, like two balls of fire burning his face. ‘Mum! Dad! You’ve got to help me. There’s a crocodile on the floor. ’ ‘Nonsense. ’ ‘I can’t! ’ A bed is creaking and then he hears the heavy footsteps across the floor.

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