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Vader by Karl Ove Knausgård

Vader (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Karl Ove Knausgård, Marianne Molenaar

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7003513,562 (4.05)67
Authors:Karl Ove Knausgård
Other authors:Marianne Molenaar

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My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgård (2009)

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English (21)  Dutch (7)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  German (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
"The days from which these incidents are drawn were countless, the bonds they created between us indestructible",, August 23, 2014

This review is from: My Struggle: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
This review is from: A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard) (Kindle Edition)
An amazing read, but one that's hard to review. It's somewhere between a memoir and a work of literature: opening with the author recollecting his early childhood, with a father he fears (although we never really discover what causes such strong feelings); moving to the present day, where he describes marriage and children - love but boredom at much that this life entails . He describes his teenage years brilliantly: the huge effort of smuggling booze to a new year's party without his parents finding out; obsessive first love. And then midway through the book his father, who he hadn't seen for 18 months, dies an alcoholic, and as he spends time clearing up the house, he begins to realise how much he meant to him.
Much of everyday life is described in excessive detail, yet somehow it doesn't bore - rather it makes you feel like you're there, watching all that happens. And in between, there are interesting, moving, highly relevant thoughts on life, art, nature, relationships.
Looking forward to reading the sequels! ( )
1 vote starbox | Aug 23, 2014 |
  living2read | Aug 16, 2014 |
  books4micks | Aug 16, 2014 |
My Struggle - Book 1 is the first of what will eventually be six volumes and something around 3600 pages. It definitely adds heft and detail to the concept of the autobiographical novel. From the start I was a somewhat reluctant and hesitant reader. But it is summer now and I have plenty of time in August to read, so I thought that if after 50-60 pages I would either continue or give up. But I was hooked form the first sentence; "For the heart life is simple: It beats as long as it can. Then it stops." (Well actually two sentences).

This is a book to be read slowly allowing it to move at it's own pace. This may be a source of frustration for some readers but it can also be a gift of sorts.

Karl Ove is a keen and detailed observer of life and it's struggles. This is accomplished in what is sometimes excruciating detail. Of particular interest is Karl Ove's relationship with a cold and demanding father who later succumbs to alcoholism. What is said and not said between the two seems equally important. His mother seems warm and supportive but largely absent.

But, I suspect more importantly it is not so the the large scale dramas that shape our identities as it is the accumulation of singular incidents that can seem to be forgettable minor events at that time. However, they tend accumulate and return to us over time. This is something that our narrator knows better and deeper than most autobiographical writers. A sense of self is built up through experiences that can barely register at the time but come to create our identities as move develop and move through our lives. ( )
  Wisconco | Aug 14, 2014 |
A mini-review in four words:
Heteronormative masculinity in crisis.

Reading notes (sans spoilers):

Part 1

"the concealment of our dead"; our "system that keeps death out of sight" — a face in the sea — "As your perspective of the world increases not only is the pain it inflicts on you less but also its meaning" — male domesticity; a hatred of fish; a mother's presence — evening news broadcast; shame — the passing of time — late self-portrait by Rembrandt in the National Gallery, London; eyes; mise-en-abyme — Proust; the past and the more pressing present; a boat in a lock — invasion and intimacy — "The only thing I have learned from life is to endure it, never to question it, and to burn up the longing generated by this in writing" — drunken summer skulls — unrolled r's and the trauma of language — taking up smoking on the cusp of sixteen "because it gave me somewhere to be" — estrangement from one's father: "I didn’t want to hurt him, I didn’t want him to think this was a failure, that he had a failed relationship with his son, so I sat wondering what I could say. But I couldn’t come up with anything." — New Year's Eve, 1984-85; "I'm Garfield!"; crooked dicks — "Our relationships were located somewhere between the world of the child and that of the adult and the boundaries between the two were fluid" — semen; guitars; volume — the character of rooms — grandma's garden and grandad's figures — a noticeable linguistic change — all for the sake of beer — New Year's Eve fireworks — "So it's 1985" — white snow; black water — "Who cares about politics when there are flames licking at your insides? Who cares about politics if you are burning with desire for life?" — "I was a dream, the dream was me" — barging in on a private moment — "it wasn’t often we had quality films here, normally everything was American" — first (unrequited) love — a separation; the snow melts, signaling spring — "I was, in other words, for depth and against superficiality, for good and against evil, for the soft and against the hard" — strange relations

Part 2

Stockholm; writing; the germ of My Struggle — "You know too little and it doesn’t exist. You know too much and it doesn’t exist. Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows. That is what writing is about." — "Chaos is a kind of gravity, and the rhythm you can sense in history, of the rise and fall of civilizations, is perhaps caused by this" — insomniac dreams; water; "nostalgia is not only shameless, it is also treacherous" — John Constable's paintings — "the deceived figure in Caravaggio’s Card Players" — a scream — The America of the Soul — "the mind has the capacity to deal with the most alien of thoughts" — "I wanted to open the world by writing, for myself, at the same time this is also what made me fail" — art, angels, and the loss of the unfathomable element — a death in the family — "All I could think was that I couldn’t think about what I should be thinking about" — airport coffee and cigarettes; the judgment of the dead — "the way we think is ... as closely associated with the specific surroundings of which we form part as the people with whom we speak and the books we read" — panic attack; meta-thoughts; thought-shadows: "I think that I think that I think" — "I was wide open, but not to the outside world, I could hardly see it anymore, but to the inside world" — Thomas Bernhard — John Sturges's photographs; first-book covers — social and cultural shifts in the role of the father — memories of childhood winters and funerals — at the undertaker's: "[t]he box of Kleenex was a sign that here weeping and death had undergone inflation" — domestic chaos — "Life’s a pitch, as the old woman said. She couldn’t pronounce her 'b’s.'" — summer rain; bottles — "Everything is open, everything is empty, the world is dead" — a question about timing and sequence — feeding a seagull — Bergen; brotherhood; Tadzio — ""Blanchot’s description of Orpheus’s gaze, the night of the night, the negation of the negation" — interviewing Olav Hauge and Kjartan Fløgstad — sleepwalking — "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" — gutted fish — "for a long time I also believed I was good at reading others, but I was not, wherever I turned I only saw myself" — "what you see every day is what you never see" — much-needed laughter and storytelling: "[t]his was a magic potion we were drinking" — shame: the morning after — Giotto and individuals' "aura of vulnerability" — buying coffins like buying wines — Ruisdaelian birds; a body — "In death he was everything, of course, but death was also everything" — the singular smell of houses — unraveling — reading manuscript proofs; suits; dedications — recollections of a last conversation — "In my dreams he was sometimes dead, sometimes alive, sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past" — a goodbye ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karl Ove Knausgårdprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For hjertet er livet enkelt: det slår så lenge det kan. Så stopper det.
Å skrive er å trekke det som finnes ut av skyggene av det vi vet. Det er det skriving handler om. Ikke hva som skjer der, ikke hva slags handlinger som utspiller seg der, men der i seg selv. Der, det er skrivingens sted og mål.
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This is the first of six books comprising the author's "My Struggle" ("Min Kamp" in Norwegian) cycle.

In the US the title was literally translated as "My Struggle Book One", whereas in the UK and Canada it has been issued under the title "A Death in the Family".
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The provocative, audacious, brilliant six-volume autobiographical novel that has unquestionably been the main event of contemporary European literature. It has earned favorable comparisons to its obvious literary forebears "A la recherche du temps perdu" and "Mein Kampf" but has been celebrated as the rare magnum opus that is intensely, addictively readable.… (more)

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Archipelago Books

Two editions of this book were published by Archipelago Books.

Editions: 1935744186, 1935744526

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