Per Petterson's book, which won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2007 Dublin IMPAC Award, is one to read slowly and savor. It's definitely character driven, but oh, what a beautiful read. It also gives a strong sense of place for Norway.
The story flashes back and forth several times between Trond's childhood and the present. The story starts out in the past, near the time of WWII. Certain events take place, and later, as an adult, Trond's understanding of them shifts. In the present, he lives self-sufficiently and, except for his dog, alone. He also reflects on significant events in his adult life and tries to understand his reaction to them. Everything falls a little more into place for him when two people search him out, one from the present, and one from the past.
My library has another of his books in translation, To Siberia, and if I don't read it this year, I'll definitely be picking it up in 2009.
2003, 2005 in the UK, 2007 in the USA; 250 pp.