Brian Newhouse is the Managing Director of Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media's classical programming, including SymphonyCast, Performance Today, Pipedreams, and the national 24-hour service, Classical 24. He is the author himself of the memoir, A Crossing. And he hosts the Friday night live broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra heard regionally on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. I asked Brian to talk about a book that has surprised, inspired, or left him, uncharacteristically, at a loss for words.
"I’ve only ever read one book that I felt like buying a trunk-full of copies of and heading out onto the street and thrusting them in total strangers’ hands: Out Stealing Horses (2007) by Norway’s Per Petterson. It moves back and forth between WWII when Norway was occupied by the Germans, and the late ‘90s. Narrator Trond Tobias Sander is trying to make sense of a long-ago boyhood now as a retiree in the woods of eastern Norway. Why did his father, whom he adored, suddenly abandon the family way back then? How could the universe really allow a young boy to accidentally shoot and kill his own twin brother? How was a war that ended decades before the book begins still upending lives? I love how seamlessly Petterson moves between these eras, how easy his language is (thanks to Anne Born, his translator), how slowly he reveals secrets so that – in an otherwise quiet novel – you can’t turn the pages fast enough. And hats off to Graywolf Press for seeing what a fuss this book made in Europe, winning all sorts of literary prizes, and bringing the book to America." -Brian Newhouse