Out Stealing Horses Questions and Answers
by Per Petterson

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How is World War 2 Represented in Out Stealing Horses in Norway?

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World War II is the backdrop for most of the novel, as the protagonist Trond reflects on its effects on his life. The reader is gradually drawn into his recollections, looking back some fifty years at what seems a carefree childhood in rural Norway. Gradually it emerges that when he was seven years old, the Nazis invaded and took over Norway. From that point, the Norwegian people had to get used to seeing “the German troops who all of a sudden were everywhere” the noise of fighter planes overhead. Trond recalled simply, “Not long after this my father went away for the first time” (chapter 8).

It turned out that is father had joined the Resistance, taking letters and film across the woods to the Swedish border. Trond learned the information second hand as his father kept the knowledge from him. The code they sued for the illegal activities was “stealing horses,” taken from the boy’s exaggerated claim about riding their neighbor’s horses. When German soldiers...

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