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Vader by Karl Ove Knausgård
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Vader (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Karl Ove Knausgård, Marianne Molenaar

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900489,809 (4)86
Member:AlexandraCCL
Title:Vader
Authors:Karl Ove Knausgård
Other authors:Marianne Molenaar
Info:Breda De Geus 2012
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:**
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Work details

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

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» See also 86 mentions

English (29)  Dutch (9)  Swedish (3)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
An intimate memoir written in the style of the most engaging fiction. Like Proust, but more visceral and immediate, Knausgaard keeps the reader utterly riveted in his extreme close-up descriptions of moments long past and the characters they contained. At times it seems as though his material is the commonplace, it is in fact the universal. ( )
  Lirmac | May 7, 2015 |
If you haven't heard of Karl Ove Knausgaard before, he is something of a national obsession in his native Norway on the back of this book and the subsequent 5 other volumes he has published about his life. He's looks like the bad boy of literature - all messed up hair and cigarettes, mad and faintly dangerous in a compelling sort of way. He rocks that homeless man crossed with Bob Geldof kind of look.

I had read so much hype about this series of books I was almost afraid to start this hefty first volume in case it disappointed, but it was utterly captivating. I will not be able to do this book justice in whatever I review here, but I will have a go.

It is a memoir written as a novel - no doubt with a fair bit of fictional padding, and indeed it's sold as a work of fiction - but it's so cleverly done. I haven't read Proust, but this series of work has been compared to it in just about every review I've read. He writes in very long paragraphs with no chapters and few obvious places to stop reading, and much of it is in stream of consciousness style.

The first part of the book mainly reflects back on his childhood up to around the age of 16, particularly his relationship with his loving but mainly absent mum and his distant and difficult to please father. From time to time it skips back to present times, and in those parts Knausgaard does slip into arrogant self-obsessed philosophising and ruminating. I couldn't have read an entire book of this, but limited as it was his razor sharp observances were poignant and fascinating.

On the surface there is nothing particularly fascinating in his childhood to support a main plot line, but Knausgaard is such a skilful writer you are totally drawn into the story, unable to stop turning the pages. He pays such attention to the most minor of details that you are sucked right into that town in Norway, getting cold feet in the snowy streets with him, sitting beside him in school, feeling the acute discomfort of sitting in the kitchen in silence with his father.

The second part of the book focuses on the difficult few days in the immediate aftermath of his father's death (no spoiler - you're made aware that this is coming early on), returning to his home town to plan the funeral whilst trying to come to terms with the shocking level of self-destruction his dad's life had spiralled into. It is an acute account of the unexpected way in which his grief manifests itself, and again his observances are so pin sharp he touches every sense.

I loved this book. It is a magnifying glass inside someone's head, and he touches the little things that resonate so strongly with all of us (many of which we'd rather not admit to). He has deliberately set out to write an acclaimed work of literature, and in places it runs away with itself (or rather he disappears too far inside his own mind), but mostly it's immensely readable.

I will need a break before a delve into book 2 of the series, but I'm drawn to him and his life like a moth to the flame. ( )
3 vote AlisonY | May 6, 2015 |
For me, this lived up to the positive critical reaction I've seen just about everywhere; if the commentary sounds to you like it describes the kind of literature you like to read, I doubt you'll be disappointed. I'm not sure how this will carry over another five volumes, or if I'm willing to be carried along that far, but I'm certainly up to giving it a shot. ( )
  j_blett | Apr 25, 2015 |
Hard to live up to all the billing it has received. Honest writing. Moments of bare and striking insight. Good read, but I doubt I will continue with next volume. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
Gemengde leeservaring! Ik was onder de indruk van de manier waarop Knausgård de moeizame relatie met zijn vader als een duister vermoeden oproept tussen de vele details die eigen zijn aan zijn schrijfstijl. Tegelijkertijd worstelt de auteur ook met zijn schrijverschap, en zijn filosofische beschouwingen over 'echte' literatuur konden mij veel minder bekoren. Ik betrapte me erop dat ik pas echt geboeid bleef lezen als het ging om de vader-zoonrelatie, het concrete hoofdthema en voor mij toch de essentie van dit boek.
( )
  chrisgalle | Mar 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karl Ove Knausgårdprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
For hjertet er livet enkelt: det slår så lenge det kan. Så stopper det.
Quotations
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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Disambiguation notice
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

2 editions of this book were published by Archipelago Books.

Editions: 1935744186, 1935744526

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