Jawdroppingly good Somehow both a memoir and a page turner As smart as it gets, beautiful, and unusually simple for something this deep A couple of knockout sequences New Year s Eve party and especially cleaning his Grandma s house I read it in a day, lagging only when he approached art history I am continually amazed, years later, after re reading, by how many people have ideas about what this is, without having even tried it I still remember, 6 years ago, the sun in Long Island as I read the sequence about his father s alcoholism I was drinking a Miller Lite, and felt such nausea, such revulsion, that I had to go to the kitchen and pour it out. My first impression of Karl Ove Knausgaard came from a black and white photograph published with a review of his book A Time For Everything in The New York Review of Books.He is seen smoking against the rugged Norwegian landscape, hair disheveled, wearing an old, battered tee shirt, lost in thought Completely and unabashedly himself, yet ill at ease Entirely present, feet deeply rooted in the present moment, yet his mind is clearly in flight, flickering at the surface of his gaze.The striking portrait somehow encompasses all of the qualities of his writing intense, raw, physical, elusive, inquisitive and elemental.http www.nybooks.com articles archiWhat Knausgaard achieves in My Struggle , his mad yet mesmerizing 6 volume autobiographical enterprise, is simply the most real depiction of the movements of the mind that I have ever read A life told in its most boring minutiae and its most elemental highs and lows, as it moves from the most mundane to the most transcendent.Knausgaard plays alongside Proust or Virginia Woolf in his desire to encapsulate all of his experience as a human being, a teenager, a son, a friend, a lover, a father but most of all a writer But he does it with even urgency, radicality, anger and modernity An Everyman of the 21st century with a 17th century temperament.The second volume of this autobiography, which tackles the fire and vagaries of love as well as the deep ambivalences that lie at the heart of domestic life and parenthood, is utterly engrossing.Read him, and listen to him below speak about Book 1, which deals with his youth and the death of his father, and he might very well change the way you look at the world around you and your own reaction to events.http youtu.be 1ODhM41VOYg Min Kamp R Karl Ove Knausg Rds M Ktiga Sj Lvbiografiska Roman F Rsta Delen Inleds Med En Svepande Beskrivning Av Varje M Nniskas Slutpunkt, D Den Det R Runt Detta Ofr Nkomliga Faktum Boken Kretsar, Fr N Barndom Till VuxenhetI Centrum St R En Far Som I Hela Sitt Liv Agerat On Bar Och Om Jlig Att F Rst N R Karl Ove F R Beskedet Om Faderns D D Inleds Ett Sorgarbete Som S Tter Hela Minnet P Spel Det Som F Ljer R Ett H Rt Uppvaknande Och En Begravning Av En Far Han Aldrig K NdeMin Kamp R En Av De Senaste Rens Mest Omdiskuterade B Cker Den Har Bel Nats Med Prestigefulla Priser Och V Llat En Debatt L Ngt Utanf R Hemlandet Norges Gr Nser Romanen Kommer Att Ges Ut I Sex Frist Ende Band, Varav Detta R Den F Rsta Delen Karl Ove Knausgaard Norwegian novelist born in 1968This first volume of the author s novel captures episodes in his life, usually as a boy growing up but sometimes events in his twenties and thirties and also reflections as he writes in his forties, through a particular lens the poignant emotions and heart break of a teenager While this would probably be a formula for literary disaster if attempted by most writers, in the skillful hands of Mr Knausgaard it is a formidable achievement.How does he do it Darn if I know but, like a Cirque du Soleil juggler juggling eleven balls at once, Karl Ove makes it look easy You might ask Why can t I write like that Well, go ahead and try You will find out very quickly just how extremely difficult such a feat is to pull off For example, he mixes this hypersensitivity with both light and dark humor as he sits at his writing desk and projects how the public will ponder his death, and captures the flavor in a number of wonderfully whimsical poems Here are a few snatches Here lies a man who never complainedA happy life he never gainedHis last words before he diedAnd went to cross the great divideWere Oh, Lord, there s such a chillCan someone send a happy pill Here lies a man of lettersA noble man of Nordic birthAlas, his hands were bound in fettersBarring him from knowing mirthOnce he wrote with dash and witNow he s buried in a pitCome on, worms, take your fill,Taste some flesh, if you willTry an eyeOr a thighHe s croaked his last, have a thrill Book not accepted, the man blew his topHe guzzled and belched and couldn t stopHis belly it grew, his belt got tight,His eyes glared, his tongue alight I only wanted to write what was right And why have many reviewers, both men and women, described Karl Ove Knausgaard s writing as riveting and gripping In large measure, I think the answer lies in the fact that the author s words reawaken the reader s own forgotten teenager years with all their intensity, insecurity and emotional, hormonal topsy turvy Matter of fact, the connection is so direct, many people have had the strong sense they were reading their own autobiography instead of his In a way, this was my experience, as well.One last example here is a bit of the narrator s passionate swirl, age sixteen, when he is with Hanne, the first love of his life What does laconic mean she asked, her green eyes looking at me Every time she did that I almost fell apart I could smash all the windows around us, knock all the pedestrians to the ground and jump up and down on them until all signs of life were extinguished, so much energy did her eyes fill me with I could also grab her around the waist and waltz down the street, throw flowers at everyone we met and sing at the top of my voice Ah, to be sixteen and in love This is only Book One Karl Ove Knausgaard wrote six thick volumes of My Struggle What an exhilarating read what a narrative voice what an author Thanks Karl.Coda Volume One contains powerful, almost overwhelming emotionally charged scenes revolving around Karl Ove s father Be prepared for some tough going as you turn the pages, especially toward the end of the book. Book 1 A Death in the FamilyAnd death, which I have always regarded as the greatest dimension of life, dark, compelling, was no than a pipe that springs a leak, a branch that cracks in the wind, a jacket that slips off a clothes hanger and falls to the floor First, let me say something about this novel and I m assuming the next five novels that is both simple and genius This is a weird book It captures the reader because it falls into a funky zone between memoir and fiction He is telling secrets Opening the dirty closets Cleaning the shit out of an old house It is exhibitionism of sex, shit, death, life, etc., but it is also a clear reflection So much of the power of this novel for me is a direct response to how clear I see myself in his exposure I read about his relationship with his brother, his father, his girlfriends, his mother and I see myself I see his thoughts on music and art and I think, hell, that is me too I know it isn t, but that is the trick Knausgaard uses these forms, or creates this form, in his novel that he fills with his own memories and history and soon you are seeing yourself in these same locks Structure Forms LocksIn his novel he mentions that great literature is structure or form first He talks about this about half way through the bookFor several years I had tried to write about my father, but had gotten nowhere, probably because the subject was too close to my life, and thus not so easy to force into another form, which of course is a prerequisite for literature That is its sole law everything has to submit to form If any of literature s other elements are stronger than form, such as style, plot, theme, if any of these overtake form, the result suffers That is why writers with strong style often write bad books That is also why writers with strong themes so often write bad books Strong themes and styles have to be broken down before literature can come into being It is this breaking down that is called writing Writing is about destroying than creating. p195Add this to Knausgaard s view of time and I think we get a hint at how he writes, and perhaps, what makes this novel so great For, while previously I saw time as a stretch of terrain that had to be covered, with the future as a distant prospect, hopefully a bright one, and never bring at any rate, now it is interwoven with our life here and in a totally different way Were I to portray this with a visual image it would have to be that of a a boat in a lock life is slowly and ineluctably raised by time seeping in from all sides Apart from the details, everything is always the same And with every passing day the desire grows for the moment when life will reach the top, for the moment when the sluice gates open and life finally moves on At the same time I see that precisely this repetitiveness, this enclosedness, this unchangingness is necessary, it protects me. p 33So, I see his novels as a combination of these ideas, something like below Eugenides captures this construction perfectly in his review in the New York TimesKnausgaard s life is a grab bag of events and recollections, and he uses whatever is handy He doesn t lie or make things up so far as I know But the selection process he subjects his memories to in order to fulfill the narrative demands of his writing rises to a level of considerable artifice Other writers invent Knausgaard remembers His raw materials are authentic maybe , but the products they create no less artful Knausgaard s life history experience is the water he fills his locks with the paint he paints his story with It isn t history It isn t autobiography It isn t even good memory It is art imitating life. Life s a pitch, as the old woman said She couldn t pronounce her b s I m not sure I can say much of anything about this work that hasn t already been said I still have several volumes to finish The next one is nearly 600 pages, so in a way, I m just getting started on this enterprise Perhaps the best I can do is to offer a few of my observations All I keep thinking is that this is the best boring book I ve ever read I can t believe how utterly boring it is and that I cared Every detail seemed mundane and lead to nowhere I can t believe that Knausgaard actually made me care about his first beer run or the detailed cleaning strategy he used to prepare his deceased father s home for a wake In the London Book of Reviews, the novelist Ben Lerner writes, It s easy to marshal examples of what makes My Struggle mediocre The problem is it s amazing And that s exactly right This boring book is amazing Ask me why, and I doubt I could adequately answer The only fleck of amazement I can even begin to articulate is the genius it took to actually remember or create an allusion to memory that had to occur for this book to be written How in the world could anyone remember such detail from a decade ago I can barely remember five minutes ago I found it almost unbelievable that Knausgaard remembered how deep he dipped his teabag into the cup at his Grandmother s house back in the early 90s The only way I could continue reading and find it believable was to devise some theories as to how he remembered these details I know this is a novel and categorized as fiction, so there s always liberties But, I also know that it s been marketed as autobiographical and that many of his own family members were so mortified by this book that they have refused to speak to him again Here are my theories about how Knausgaard constructed the details in this book He knew he was going to write this novel from a very early age and therefore set about remembering and notating every single detail of his life, mundane or not Genius His memory failed him and he couldn t remember anything, except for the major incidences, and therefore was forced to make up all the details, and every single minor observation is fiction Genius It s a combination of both He remembered some things, and what he didn t, he had to relive or re observe He literally went back to his grandmother s home and cleaned the railings with a rag and detergent and then recorded his observations as they would ve occurred had he remembered every detail Genius He does write that at one point he burned all of his journals from when he was younger, so my first theory may not be correct He also states that his memory is weak, which supports the theory that the details were made up Again, just a theory There may be proof otherwise I don t know how he did it Perhaps I ll gain some insights in the next volume.Either way, I can t undo what s been done I have a feeling this book will forever change the way that I read and observe life I wish I could say or review eloquently, but this is one of those you just have to see for yourself. that statistic about how often the average man thinks of sex well, double it, change sex to death and you have a hint as to what s going on in my head the thought that spoiler you, me, and everyone we know, ever will know, and or ever will know of, will end up an inanimate object seems preposterously unfair and, conversely, is what drives me to live it the hell up in my pitifully brief time on this less than a speck of dust in our expanding universe obsessed with death, a collector of death no bodies in my basement, i m talkin the artistic and historical representation of , karl ove knausg rd jumps to the top of my personal canon thanon , edging in there right under ol philip nothing terrible, nothing true larkin as with life KOK s secondary subject , there re pages and pages of dullsville until a flash of the morbidly sublime, ineffable, mysterious rears its head and all that banality as with boring memories seen through the lens of time passed takes on the hazy glow of significance.an imperfect book my favorite of the year because of its imperfections and five volumes to come yee fuckin haw on seeing his father s corpse Now I saw his lifeless state And that there was no longer any difference between what once had been my father and the table he was lying on, or the floor on which the table stood, or the wall socket beneath the window, or the cable running to the lamp beside him For humans are merely one form among many, which the world produces over and over again, not only in everything that lives but also in everything that does not live, drawn in sand, stone, and water And death, which I have always regarded as the greatest dimension of life, dark, compelling, was no than a pipe that springs a leak, a branch that cracks in the wind, a jacket that slips off a clothes hanger and falls to the floor.on memory You could still buy Slazenger tennis rackets, Tretorn balls, and Rossignol skis, Tyrolia bindings and Koflach boots The houses where we lived were still standing, all of them The sole difference, which is the difference between a child s reality and an adult s, was that they were no longer laden with meaning A pair of Le Coq soccer boots was just a pair of soccer boots If I felt anything when I held a pair in my hands now it was only a hangover from my childhood, nothing else, nothing in itself The same with the sea, the same with the rocks, the same with the taste of salt that could fill your summer days to saturation, now it was just salt, end of story The world was the same, yet it wasn t, for its meaning had been displaced, and was still being displaced, approaching closer and closer to meaninglessness. It was a sense of bewilderment at the utter banality that is the immediate surface of this project of Knausgaard s that at first had me thinking I m not going to be able to see this book through and questioning not only whether it was worth my time but actually was it worth his, all this writing It was a genuine bewilderment because I was taken aback, flustered, and not a little annoyed that he seemed so casual in his approach, so utterly unconcerned with any kind of decoration, any kind of Style, that thing that lets one know one is reading a personality that has encountered a world in some kind of authentic way Nabokov is an overture of interlocking etyms fluttering in accord of each other in a flower garden like the lepidoptera he obsesses over and Gaddis is turmoiled density a kind of cacophony that emerges as tonal bliss and Joyce is the music of the spheres, a radiant cosmos, and Woolf is a kind of chamber orchestra in a shadowy room, but what was this Just a man talking Knausgaard is not a stylist, he is not a musician, he might be something like when the rain streaks the pavement different tones of bone color and you are startled to become aware that this static plain is actually capable of unconcealing multiple appearances, that even a square of pavement can reveal a variety of essences or when old bricks are made fox red by the right angle of light, fleetingly the animal can be seen in the baked clay Or the gray cloud bank that arrives and only announces itself, gray cloud bank, but you understand that a gray cloud bank is a touching phenomenon all on its own He is not Proust Someone writing at length about their childhood does not make that someone a Proust Proust is the sound of the different branes of our personal temporal multiverses gently touching one another creating big bangs that detonate and spread subaqueously, subcutaneously, muted and unnoticed but sending us forward in our lives, like we are the disturbed air waves on which the viola sings searching out the ears that might hear But Knausgaard He is not these writers don t go looking for them here.But if you do decide to read this book, don t give up on it until you have proceeded deeply into Part Two, because Knausgaard, unconcerned with winning you right away, really comes to life in Part Two, when he is in closest proximity to Death This is a death haunted book from page one to the end, and what becomes compelling in Knausgaard s exhaustive realism, his absolute dedication to identifying every minutiae of movement, object, sense item in a scene, is that through his spare prose meditations almost stone quarries of the everyday one is forced to reckon with the thought that, because we are involuntarily immersed, from birth, in our miserable, troubled, absurd, sometimes blissful, mostly futile and selfish strivings since this is a fate we all share, that is only consecrated by Death then the banality of each life is sacred, and worth the telling I believe Knausgaard is sincerely approaching his project with the idea that each life is an epic, his not excepted I see no evidence, in this first book, to qualify the accusation of narcissism, of navel gazing, unless we are all guilty of this when looking back over our unhappiness, our growth, our attempts at becoming human This is not narcissism so much as it is a reckoning of self loathing, and there is a vital difference between the neuroses of the self that are narcissism and self loathing of coming to terms with our ugly humanity on this rock on which we were washed up at birth, when we plopped out covered in blood, cold, and screaming.I am intrigued I am at the very beginning of his project, and I m not sold that this is literary greatness But it is something worthy of your consideration It might be something necessary But Dad was no longer breathing That was what had happened to him, the connection with the air had been broken, now it pushed against him like any other object, a log, a gasoline can, a sofa He no longer poached air, because that is what you do when you breathe, you trespass, again and again you trespass on the world I first met Karl Ove Knausgaard while watching an interview he gave to BBC He has all this barely tamed hair surrounding a face that conveys peaceful reflection He has dramatic, bold features Hollywood casting need look no further for what a novelist should look like or an artist or maybe even a poet I can easily see him walking around in a toga in Ancient Greece, with a flock of students following him around, waiting to tongue any words he wished to speak Karl Ove is obsessed with his father, and therefore by extension, he is obsessed with himself To understand how he feels about his father, he has to also understand himself He can t just loath his father without loathing himself He can t like himself until he figures out what it was that made his father so indifferent Did his father abuse him Karl Ove doesn t share any physical confrontations, but the way he keeps track of his father would indicate that there was a real fear of his father s presenceWhen I could see him I felt safer with him, and in a way that was what mattered most I knew his moods and had learned how to predict them long ago, by means of a king of subconscious categorization system, I have later come to realize, whereby the relationship between a few constants was enough to determine what was in store for me, allowing me to make my own preparationsThe brooding silence of his father and the difficulty that he, his older brother Yngve, and their mother had having a conversation with him can also be a form of unintended abuse His father was unhappy.I found it interesting that no one seemed to explore the idea of what was making his father unhappy Was it a natural chemical imbalance A dissatisfaction with life A melancholy over feelings of failure There are five volumes, so may be revealed As children, we don t really care why our parents are upset we just hope they aren t upset with us Analysis of our parents comes much later when we first start to navigate the perils of creating our own life on our own raft His father didn t drink much alcohol, and then if the Glomma River had turned to booze, he would have gladly drowned in it The boys were long gone, living their own lives He moved in with his mother and drank himself to death rather efficiently and quickly When they came for the funeral, they found their grandmother in a state they never expected to seeThe dress she was wearing was discolored with stains and hung off her scrawny body The top part of her bosom the dress was supposed to cover revealed ribs shining through the skin Her shoulder blades and hips stuck out Her arms were no than skin and bone Blood vessels ran across the backs of her hands like thin, dark blue cables She stank of urine A few years ago, I bought a house to use as a rental An old woman had lived there by herself The carpets had not been swept in a long time Knobs were broken on the appliances Everything was dusty and dirty Smudge fingerprints were on the walls The living room carpet had a huge brown blood stain that had never been cleaned up properly The ceilings of every room was black with cigarette smoke The house had been neglected for years, which also had me thinking that the woman had been neglected as well Family becomes busy, and they don t realize that their older relatives have become incapable or indifferent to caring for their home, but also for their person It was certainly a lesson for me and reading about Karl Ove s grandmother reinforced my own need to be attentive to my older relatives The book jumps around from time period to time period We get a glimpse of Karl Ove when he is working as a writer, struggling to be an attentive husband to a pregnant wife when all he wants to do is disappear into the world he is creating with his wordsI have always had a great need for solitude I require huge swathes of loneliness and when I do not have it, which has been the case for the last five years, my frustration can sometimes become almost panicked, or aggressive And when what has kept me going for my whole adult life, the ambition to write something exceptional one day, is threatened in this way my one thought, which gnaws at me like a rat, is that I have to escapeI always love pictures like this because it is like looking into the soul of reader I can look at the books on their shelves.Karl Ove has an addictive personality, and drinking and smoking is not spoken in terms of having one or two, but in having multitudes until he is somewhere beyond drunk and his throat is raw with smoke He finds that, if he drinks, he can reach the happy zone where others at a party seem to reach so effortlessly Smoking calms his jittery nerves down He is self medicating to appear as normal as possible, as many of us do.The book is oddly hypnotic His writing style, even in translation was smooth and easy to read I asked myself a couple of times why I was reading this It isn t really my kind of thing, but every time I set it down to read something else, it wasn t long before I reached for it again I almost felt like a priest hearing Karl Ove s confession, a whisper out of the dark Norwegian night And death, which I have always regarded as the greatest dimension of life, dark, compelling, was no than a pipe that springs a leak, a branch that cracks in the wind, a jacket that slips off a clothes hanger and falls to the floor If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at I lay on the beige textile corner sofa thinking that I should start writing my review for A Death InThe Family, My Struggle Part 1 I sit up, unplug the laptop from the white charger and sit back down I open the lid, punch in the password and click on the Notes application icon A new blank page is revealed to me I then start to look at the empty screen and realize I am hungry I sit up again and take an orange form the fruit basket who also containes pears, apples, bananas and kiwis I reach for the fruit knife from the counter and start to cut the orange peel in equal sized parts The smell of fresh orange juice fills my nostrils with expectation I start to unwrap each juicy orange bit and put them in a bowl to take with me I lay in the sofa again with the laptop on my lap I start to type a few words while eating the orange Bored already I am However, Knausgaard writes in the same excruciating detail about all sorts of mundane stuff and I was never bored almost while reading this almost 500 pages memoir Here is an example of his detail at its worseI joined Yngve, who was standing in front of the house hold detergents section We took Jif for the bathroom, Jif for the kitchen, Ajax all purpose cleaner, Ajax window cleaner, Mr Muscle for extra difficult stainsand he goes on and on with the things he bought Yes, he wrote almost half a page about his shopping choices in a local supermarket The first few times I heard of this book and the omnipresent comparison with Proust, I thought that it is the kind of book literature snobs would read because of its originality and to prove their endurance with an unreadable novel In short, I ran away from it with all my might Gradually, after reading and positive reviews from friends my attitude became a bit accepting and I became even interested While on holiday in beautiful Norway, I bought a couple of Norwegian novels , this one included I was surprised by the fact that I was drawn in the Karl Ove Knausgaard s memoir from the first sentenceFor the heart, life is simple it beats for as long as it can Then it stops Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the bloody will begin to run towards the body s lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from the outside as a dark, soft patch on ever whiter skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drainCreepy but fascinating in the same time.It took me two months to finish the first of this massive six volume fictionalized autobiography I felt that I could not be rushed Even though the book is filled with unnecessary mundane details about the author s life and it does not have an obvious plot I found it strangely readable and fascinating as a literary Big Brother can be The volume is structured in two parts, the first one deal with the author as boy growing up with bits and pieces from different periods while the 2nd part discusses the death of his alcoholic father and the burial preparations which trigger memories from childhood There is also a part about him as a struggling writer struggling to be affectionate to a pregnant wife and to also find the much needed solitude to write The narration shifts between painfully detailed memories of everyday activities including banal dialogues between family and friends to deep philosophical insightsWriting is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows That is what writing is about Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself There, that is writing s location and aim But how to get there Knausgaard is an amazing writer, a wizard who manages to keep one interested and absorb all his written words His sincerity is shocking and disarming We get to see him as a self absorbed man who is sometimes a jerk with the ones around him, who loathes his father and wants him dead but is destroyed by his death A man of who likes to be alone and is afraid to talk to people but writes a 7 volume memoir about himself It was fascinated to enter Knausgaard mind with all its contradictions and flaws.
Nominated to the 2004 Nordic Council s Literature Prize awarded the 2004 Norwegian Critics Prize.Karl Ove Knausg rd b 1968 made his literary debut in 1998 with the widely acclaimed novel Out of the World, which was a great critical and commercial success and won him, as the first debut novel ever, The Norwegian Critics Prize He then went on to write six autobiographical novels, titled
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