-- The New York Times From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons. Read more...
--The New York Times From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons. 28 August. Now, as I write this, you know nothing about anything, about what awaits you, the kind of world you will be born into. And I know nothing about you... I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees. You will come to see it in your own way, you will experience things for yourself and live a life of your own, so of course it is primarily for my own sake that I am doing this: showing you the world, little one, makes my life worth living. Autumn begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice--the stuff of everyday life is the fodder for his art. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention. This beautifully illustrated book is a personal encyclopaedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Knausgaard shows us how vast, unknowable and wondrous the world is.
- ISBN-13: 9780399563300
- ISBN-10: 039956330X
- Publisher: Penguin Press
- Publish Date: August 2017
- Page Count: 240
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
A life minutely, brilliantly observed
From obscure author to literary legend—that’s the transition Karl Ove Knausgaard has made in recent years thanks to his acclaimed autobiographical work, My Struggle. In that six-volume series, he delivers a meticulously detailed chronicle of his upbringing in Norway and his life as a writer, husband and father.
Knausgaard has a gift for making the quotidian seem compelling. His inclusivity and exactitude of detail, along with his tendency to follow narrative tangents to their exhausted ends, allows him to replicate on the page the nature of his own experience in a way that feels both expansive and microscopic. This effect enlivens his new book, Autumn, the first of four essay compilations, each of which will be named for a season.
Autumn was written as Knausgaard awaited the arrival of his fourth child, Anne, and it serves as a sort of introduction to the material world. Knausgaard offers musings on items encountered during the routine business of living—from plastic bags, bottles and rubber boots to the drum kit he keeps in his office. He also focuses on nature and its power to astonish and on the mysteries of the human body. Whether he’s writing about a rainstorm (“the sound of thunder always heightens the sense of being alive”) or teeth (“miniature white towers in the mouth”), the scrutiny Knausgaard applies to everyday objects renews them for the reader.
The essays in this perceptive collection are no more than a few pages in length, and Knausgaard’s prose style throughout is unembellished and precise. But the book also has an underpinning of tenderness. Of his children, Knausgaard writes, “I want them to relish life and have a sense of its abundance.” In Autumn, he captures that sense—and much more.