I Had a Childhood Almost Like My Own
Above the Øverland river there’s an old farm, with remnants of a small mill, two farm houses and an old barn. Behind the barn there’s a forest, and in front of it, going up to the church, there’s a park.
This is where the novel’s narrator and main character grows up in the 1970s. Beneath the ordinary, respectable surface, more sinister things are going on. Strangers, men and women, lure him with potato chips, ice cream or other things that looks like kindness. He finds money in the jackets and handbags of uncles and aunts when they come to visit. And above all there’s the money that the carpenter living in the barn has hidden in his drawer. The boy is driven as much by curiosity, shame and humiliation as by rootlessness and a yearning to belong.
I Had a Childhood Almost Like My Own is a deeply fascinating and elegantly composed novel about vulnerability, suppression, guilt and repentance – and about the gnawing presence of everything that’s been lost and how it is expressed in the shape of memories.