In the Wake

Added September 6, 2016
  • In the Wake
  • Per Petterson
  • The Harvill Press, U.K. 2002

In the Wake, Per Petterson’s second novel, is a fictional account of a young man who loses most of his family in the real-life Scandinavian Star ferry disaster of 1990. Petterson knows of what he writes. He lost his own mother, father, brother and cousin in this incident.

In the Wake won the 2000 in-the_-wake_-copy_ Norwegian Brage Prize before coming out in English translation two years later. It was nominated for the 2003 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

This is the true first English language edition, published four years before the U.S. first edition and two years after the original Norwegian publication. It is very rare in that it is signed. Petterson is not a prolific signer.

As a matter of fact, there is only one autographed copy listed on right now, and it is selling for about $300.

in-the_-wake_-signature This copy is in near fine/fine condition. There is minor browning of the page edges — unfortunately, Harvill often uses poor quality paper. The dust jacket is perfect, however.

Petterson’s third novel, Out Stealing Horses, won the 2006 Irish Times Prize and the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and brought him international success. Signed true firsts of this title are generally quite hard to find, but there happens to be one copy available on-line today for $500.

As of summer 2016, he will have seven works of fiction available in English, translated by either Anne Born or Don Bartlett. If you haven’t read his work, you are missing out on some of the best writing in the world.

Keep an eye on Petterson. I believe that his first editions will continue to rise in value, and his work will be ranked among the best of the modern classics.

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