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Per Petterson draws on personal tragedy

20th July 2010

To Siberia author Per Petterson says personal tragedy has been a major influence on his most recent writing.

In an interview with the Scottish Herald, the Norwegian novelist recounted how his latest effort I Curse the River of Time deals with the relationship between a man and his cancer-stricken mother.

He explained that his own mother suffered from the disease, becoming ill in 1989 - the year when he decided to set the novel and one year before tragedy befell his family. The author's mother, father, brother and niece died in 1990 when the Scandinavian Star ferry sank after an arsonist set it on fire.

Petterson said he drew on the 'substantial feeling' this created when writing the novel, but tended to transfer and reshape it in the act of composition.

'You use the emotions, the anger, the sense of substance or whatever you have and then you compose,' he told the newspaper.

A review of I Curse the River of Time in the Metro applauds the novel for being 'rich with detail and feeling'.

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