A few months back I read a review of this book and I knew I needed to read it.
What attracted me to the review in the first place, was that Karl Ove Knausgaard is Norwegian, and we were leaving for a 10 day trip to Norway in a few days. Also, I am always attracted to work by non-english speaking authors, for variety, if nothing else. And, really, how many Norwegian authors can you read in English?
But what sold me on the book was the following excerpt from the review (written by Dwight Gardner):
I fell into the first two books of “My Struggle” as if I were falling into a malarial fever. I did little else for four days except devour them, leaving email unanswered, dogs unwalked, dishes piling up in the sink. The steady headlamps of his prose stun and mesmerize you, as if you were a lumbering mammal caught in the middle of a highway.
Little of obvious import happens in these books, but Mr. Knausgaard manages, seemingly without effort, to make a trip to the grocery store, or an evening’s conversation around a dinner table, as involving and gravity-laden as another writer’s account of the assassination of Osama bin Laden. He is contemporary fiction’s alchemist of the ordinary.
I started reading it a few days ago, and even though I am only on page 36 I think I am going to invest the time to go through all 430 pages (but it will take a bit more than a few days for sure). But why I am writing all this, is that I found something in the book that surprised me so much. The author describing himself. Because, if I could write like him, I would have written this myself, about myself. This is me…
I have always had a great need for solitude. I require huge swaths 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…
“My Struggle” is a collection of six (yes six!) autobiographical novels, and I believe four of them have been translated to English. Read away!