- I Refuse
- Per Petterson
- Harvill Secker, London, 2014
I Refuse came out to rave reviews. Here are a few:
“Petterson’s signature technique lies in drawing the most zigzag line imaginable through narrative chronology but the effect is not of confusion, rather of a dense, layered complexity: it is the realist novel form’s mimetic faithfulness to life itself. His prose, which has the quality of northern light, and the stark clarity of its winters, too, is honed to rise to this level of truth-telling.
“Stream-of-consciousness is a much-misunderstood term but, cleaving close to the characters’ points of view, Petterson’s long ribbons of sentences, held together by a rich, repeated use of “and”, sometimes euphorically defying grammar but always truthful and pitch-perfect, bring fresh meaning to the term and its possibilities. In Don Bartlett’s pellucid translation, the rhythm of the austere prose, alternating between sentences as short as three or four words and those running over 12 or 15 lines, is mesmerising.” The Guardian
“An extraordinarily humane work… I Refuse will lodge in the heart and remain there” Eileen Battersby Irish Times
This copy is a rare advance review edition in near fine condition. It would be fine but for a paperclip mark on the back cover where the publishers letter to the bookseller was attached. There are no advance review copies for sale on-line today. But there is one signed first Harvill edition, which is selling for about $70.
The US Graywolf Press edition came out one year later, and there are several signed first printings of that for sale on AbeBooks for between $50 and $125.
My guess for a value on this unsigned proof copy would be $50, give or take. If it should win any major awards, that value will rise significantly. In fact, all of Petterson’s work should increase in value over time, because his writing is of such consistently high quality. He still has not really broken into the North American market as much as he deserves, but it is only a matter of time before he does.