I Curse the River of Time, Per Petterson, 2008

In what seems like the year of Norway (see Jo Nesbo’s mysteries below), this outstanding book sets the stage—-gray, dark, damp, grim, cold—against which a small group of characters do almost nothing while presenting the story of a family where disappointment reigns.  Arvid, a 37 year old Maoist (hence, the title) is about to be divorced.  Failed at work, marriage, being a son, a brother, a husband, he accompanies his mother to the farm where she had her oldest child.  As the mother says, “It did not turn as I imagined.”  A good summary for a grim view of life’s contingencies.  Petterson is a superb writer and his earlier books are well worth reading as well.