Per Petterson masters the art of writing simply of big subjects, and the stories in this collection - his debut, published in English for the first time - are beautiful tales of growing up in all its complexity, its wonders and confusions. Arvid Jansen is six years old and lives on the outskirts of Oslo. It's the early 60s, and his father works in a shoe factory; his Danish mother works as a cleaner. Arvid wets his bed at night and has nightmares about crocodiles, but slowly begins to piece the world together. His grandfather dies and he cries on seeing a photograph of his mother as a young woman - learning about the passing of time and growing old; and the world opens up to him when a teacher at his school says he and his fellow pupils must pray to God over the looming nuclear war
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