Per Petterson is one of the biggest success stories of contemporary Norwegian literature. Winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for the celebrated Out Stealing Horses, he is recognised abroad as well as at home. Like his countryman Karl Ove Knausgaard, he seems drawn to themes of darkness and loss. This is understandable, given that Petterson lost his mother, father, brother and niece in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster in 1990. Many of his novels deal with repressed familial and political legacies of unhappiness and betrayal, and they often comment on the effect of history upon the present.