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- My Struggle
Karl Ove Knausgaard
"Of course, I remember nothing from this time. It is completely impossible to identify with the infant my parents photographed; this is in fact so difficult it almost seems wrong to use the word 'I' when referring to it, lying in the baby bath, for instance, its skin unnaturally red, its arms and legs sprawling, and its face distorted in a scream no one remembers the reason for anymore ... Is that creature the same as the one sitting here in Malmo, writing this?"
--from Book Three of "My Struggle"
More praise for Book Three:
"A superbly told childhood story ... Knausgaard writes about everyday life as a child with a flow and continuity that all hangs together ... the text has a gravitational pull that draws the reader in only further." --"Dag Og Tid" (Norway)
"An aesthetic pleasure ... A patient, chiseled, and intense portrayal of a child's sensory experience. Book Three is a classic." --"Klassekampen" (Norway)
"Compelling reading ... Knausgaard has an equally good eye for small and large events." --"Aftenposten" (Norway)
"A gripping novel ... This childhood portrayal drifts off with a lightness and sensitivity that not many will associate with him ... There is no doubt that the series is worth following the author all the way." --"Dagens Naeringsliv" (Norway)
"The man can write a novel about a solid, pretty traditional upbringing too ... A sensitive, sharp depiction of growing up in the 70's." --"Adresseavisen" (Norway)"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-04-14
- Reviewer: Staff
The third installment of Knausgaard’s six-part autobiographical novel takes a deeper look at the author’s childhood. Set in the 1970s and ’80s on the vividly described island of Tromoya in southern Norway, volume three is more conventionally structured than the previous two. (The first book focused largely on the death of Karl Ove’s father, and the second followed the courtship of Karl Ove’s second wife, Linda.) Here, the adult narrator (“the forty-year-old creature who is sitting in Malmo writing this”) makes fewer appearances than in the first two installments, as he recounts his formative years. The sensitive young Karl Ove takes journeys with his neighborhood friends through the forest on the island, exploring the landscapes with curiosity and indulging his appetite for adventure and troublemaking. Progressing through early years at school, he plays soccer, chases crushes, develops interests in books and rock music, and seeks the guidance of his compassionate older brother, Yngve. Always looming over his actions, though, is Karl Ove’s domineering schoolteacher father, who scolds him and twists his ear over trivial mistakes. As the brothers grow older, the father begins to lose his grip over them, and the narrator sets the stage for rifts to come. This book is more concerned with conveying the experiences of childhood and the anxieties of school boys than with sustained plot, and some passages verge on being reportorial. The ever-present threat of Karl Ove’s father provides an engrossing source of tension, however, and Knausgaard skillfully recreates the point of view of a child. This segment of a genre-defying and unusual novel will leave readers hungry for the following installments, and serves as a fine entry point into the series. (June)