Do brutal climate and harsh environs inevitably lead to such stories? Auden is a survivor. The question is whether he will escape as well as survive. This is a grim story of abuse, alcoholism, dead-end jobs, petty town mentalities. But above it is a level of joy for the reader in the lovely prose, the simple, minimal way in which Petterson does his work. And surely the one will transcend the other by the end leading to something like a happy future. Auden’s a reader and in his heart he’s a writer. Could the author really leave the hopes of this young man and the reader dashed?
Maybe. I’m not going to give that away. Suffice to say I read this with my heart in my mouth, during the course of today. It’s short and very difficult to put down.
Petterson’s on two out of two with me.