Out Stealing Horses
August 2, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

I don't understand a seemingly important part of "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson. On p. 198, Trond says, "In real life I have not had the courage to ask Lars the obvious question: 'Did you take the place that was rightfully mine? Did you have years out of my life that I should have lived?'" If someone has read the book and can explain what Trond means here, I'd be grateful!
posted by wisekaren to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If I remember correctly, Trond's father left to be with Lars' mother. So taking his place would be as his father's son. The years out of his life with his father that he would have had, if his father hadn't left and become part of Lars' family.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:20 PM on August 2, 2010

Wouldn't this refer to the idea of having an alternate life history that was "taken" by someone else? When Robert Frost talks about the road not taken, he's referring to this concept of the choices that rule in one life path, and rule out another. In this case, apparently Lars took a position or role that would have changed Trond's life history if Trond had it.
posted by bearwife at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2010

I understood it to mean that Trond wanted to know if Lars had taken Trond's place in his father's affections and if Lars had enjoyed the years of that love which Trond was denied.
posted by Kattullus at 10:53 PM on August 2, 2010

Response by poster: I see. I thought that Trond's father and Lars's mother took off and left their families -- in other words, I didn't get the impression that Lars had spent time with Trond's father -- so this must be what Trond is wondering too. Many thanks!
posted by wisekaren at 6:04 AM on August 3, 2010

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