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Echoland

by Per Petterson

On the cusp of childhood and adolescence, Arvid is on a family visit to Denmark. The wild openess of the coastal landscape reflects his unpredictable emotions and behaviour; generational tensions make adults seem childlike compared to his longings. An existential read indeed!

Extract

'Can we stop?' he said, and Soren pulled in because it was Arvid's birthday, and Arvid opened the door and jumped out on to the verge and walked a few metres down the slope and lay in the grass. It was so steep it was almost like standing, he could rest his body and at the same time see as far as he wanted. He took deep breaths again and again, and there was air enough for a lifetime and he promised himself he would never start smoking. His mother could never inhale as much air into her lungs as he could. His chest was a balloon that couldn't burst, it just filled up and sent blue air to all corners of his body and his body turned into something so light and delicate he could jump off the nearest cliff and fly like Peter Pan.
Translated by Don Barlett

Parallels

Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
Listening for Small Sounds by Penelope Trevor
 

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