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My Struggle, Book One
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2009 Brage Prize, the 2010 Book of the Year Prize in Morgenbladet, the 2010 P2 Listeners' Prize, and the 2004 Norwegian Critics' Prize and nominated for the 2010 Nordic Council Literary Prize.
"No one in his generation equals Knausgaard."—Dagens Næringsliv
"A tremendous piece of literature."—Politiken (Denmark)
To the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day or another, this thumping motion shuts down of its own accord. . . . The changes of these first hours happen so slowly and are performed with such an inevitability that there is almost a touch of ritual about them, as if life capitulates according to set rules, a kind of gentleman's agreement.
Almost ten years have passed since Karl O. Knausgaard's father drank himself to death. He is now embarking on his third novel while haunted by self-doubt. Knausgaard breaks his own life story down to its elementary particles, often recreating memories in real time, blending recollections of images and conversation with profound questions in a remarkable way. Knausgaard probes into his past, dissecting struggles—great and small—with great candor and vitality. Articulating universal dilemmas, this Proustian masterpiece opens a window into one of the most original minds writing today.
Karl O. Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. His debut novel Out of This World won the Norwegian Critics' Prize and his A Time for Everything was nominated for the Nordic Council Prize.
"Knausgaard's perplexing autobiographical third novel (after A Time for Everything) is by turns a coming of age story-told in fits and starts-and a philosophical exploration of what it means to be a son, brother, and writer. The first in a series of six, this work is at its melancholy best when ruminating on how to survive in a world too minutely examined to trust or love: on the first page, the narrator's focus shifts in a moment from a sentimental note on the life of the heart to an outline of the physical processes of bodily decomposition. And though Knausgaard's sprawling story is rife with vital energies-flitting from the discoveries of childhood to the meditations of a more mature man-death's presence is palpable throughout: Karl's attention is constantly drawn toward the vanishing point of his late estranged, alcoholic father. A profusion of quotidian ephemera-from binge drinking to cigarette after cigarette-serves to highlight the incommensurability of death in light of the banality of life. Though light on plot (or perhaps heavy on it, depending on a reader's estimation of hyperrealist saturation as constituting a storyline), Knausgaard's gorgeous prose and enthralling reflections make this tome a rewarding struggle. "
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A Norwegian Marcel Proust. This nerve-striking, addictive piece of "hyper-realism" has created a phenomenon throughout Scandinavia.
Almost ten years have passed since Karl Oves father drank himself to death. Vulnerable and assailed by doubts, he is now embarking on a new novel. With an uncanny eye for detail, Knausgaard breaks down his own life story into its elementary particles, reliving memories, reopening wounds, and examining with candor the turbulence and the epiphanies that emerge from his own experience of fatherhood, the fallout in the wake of his fathers death, and his visceral connection to music, art, and literature. Negotiating intimacy, love, and fear lie at the heart of his movements and mind as he moves from self- deprecation to self-absorption, from craving solitude to exposing an insatiable need for love and admiration, from alienation to harmony. Karl Oves dilemmas strike nerves that give us raw glimpses of our particular moment in history as we witness what happens to the sensitive and churning mind of a young man trying - as if his very life depended on it - to find his place in the disjointed world around him. This Proustian masterpiece opens a window into one of the most original minds writing today.
About the Author
Karl O. Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968 and is the author of Out of This World (Ute av verden) and A Time for Everything, which was nominated for the Nordic Council Prize. The first volume of his Min Kamp (My Struggle) was the winner of Norway's 2009 Brage Prize.
Don Bartlett is an experienced translator who has translated dozens of books in various genres, including eight novels and short stories by Jo Nesbø. He lives in Norfolk. His web site is donb.info.
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