Ashes In My Mouth, Sand In My Shoes
“Today You Must Pray To God”
“Today You Must Pray to God” is from Per Petterson’s debut story collection ASHES IN MY MOUTH, SAND IN MY SHOES (Graywolf Press, 2015) originally published in Petterson’s native Norway in 1987, and appearing for the first time in translation in America. Petterson is the author of seven novels including the international best seller, OUT STEALING HORSES, which won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. His latest novel, I REFUSE, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in April 2015.
Petterson’s prize-winning collection launched his career and introduced the world to the heartwarming portrait of a young boy, Arvid Jansen, and all the wonders and confusions of his childhood as he confronts, among others things, the menace of nuclear war.
Praise for the collection and for Petterson:
“The prose is simple and spare, elegiac in tone, yet it packs a powerful punch. . . . A bittersweet read that can be fully savored in one sitting.” – Publishers Weekly
“Writing within a child’s limited vision, Petterson uses what’s unspoken to wrench the reader’s heart.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Shot through with a tender, nostalgic quality. . . . Unexpectedly moving.” – Financial Times
“The talent has been there from the very beginning. . . . You’ll want to read everything [Petterson] has written.” – The Sydney Morning Herald
“[Petterson’s] sentences yearn to fly away into poetry; it is rare to find prose at once so exact and so vague.” – James Wood, The New Yorker
“Clean sentence after clean sentence, Petterson conveys both the melancholy and the demi-pleasurable sensation of being fundamentally untethered.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Like Raymond Carver at his intricate best. . . . Readers will find that they’re in the hands of a master whose quiet, unforgettable voice leaves you yearning to hear more.” – The Boston Globe
The collection is translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.