I can’t recall whether I’ve talked about ARCs (advance reader’s copies, also known as previews) before, and I’m too lazy to check. ARCs are these magical books that are sent to bookstores and authors and I don’t know who else by publishers trying to get attention for books coming out soon. Tons are sent to the bookstore I work at. Publishers hope we read and like the books and then order the books for the store. ARCs are most often previews of novels by first-time authors. Nonfiction is rarer than fiction, and books by well-established authors are rarest of all. Per Petterson is a well-established author. He’s even a prize winner. He’s Norwegian.
This book I picked up is an ARC of a collection of stories coming out this April. (It’s actually the first book he published, but it’s only now been translated and released in English.) Although the cover says it’s stories, AiMMSiMS reads more like a novella. It’s only 118 small pages, and the main character in each story is the same young boy Arvid. Arvid is perfect. He’s small, he still wets the bed, he’s called “Death Diver,” he’s proud, and he’s scared. He believes in a certain kind of magic but knows not to examine it too closely. He believes in his dad. His world is fragile but easy-peasy to jump into.