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Vader by Karl Ove Knausgård

Vader (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Karl Ove Knausgård, Marianne Molenaar

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1,413665,351 (3.97)169
Authors:Karl Ove Knausgård
Other authors:Marianne Molenaar
Info:Breda De Geus 2012

Work details

My Struggle: Book One: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgård (2009)


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» See also 169 mentions

English (41)  Dutch (12)  Swedish (4)  German (3)  Danish (3)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  All (67)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
When the writing is good, it soars; I could have done with an abridged version. Kept on thinking Proust but visualizing Lilyhammer. ( )
  benjaminsiegel | Jul 30, 2016 |
Yes, I know the cover the book spells it Knausgaard, but the proper Norwegian is Knausgård; and no, I don’t know why the publisher felt a need to “Anglicise” it, as it’s not exactly hard to write. But anyway. This is the first book in a six-volume autobiography – as I write this five volumes are currently available in English – although for some reason the series has been published as fiction. Knausgård, it seems, prefers the term “novel” because he wrote the books as if they were fiction, although they were based closely on his own life. Certainly it’s true the level of detail for something set thirty years ago suggests fiction more than reminiscence. A Death in the Family covers Knausgård’s teen years in Tromøya in southern Norway, his friends, the girls he fancies, his introduction to alcohol, and his difficult relationship with his parents. In the second half of the novel, Knausgård tries to come to terms with the death of his father, and the state his grandparents have fallen into since their son’s death. I’ll admit I found the level of detail fascinating, even though the story itself is mostly banal. And the weird distancing effect between adult Knausgård presenting his memories and the lack of self-awareness by the teen narrator made for an interesting juxtaposition. I think I’ll give the second one, A Man in Love, a go… ( )
  iansales | Jul 27, 2016 |
This book, and the autobiographical series of which it forms the first part, has been talked about a lot and praised by many critics whose judgment I would normally trust, but I must admit to having felt a certain apprehension at tackling it. Knausgaard invests apparently banal everyday events with charged significance, and the overall impression is very powerful, almost oppressively so.
The first half of the book focuses mainly on a few days when he was sixteen, centred on a new year party, and is full of the usual tropes of adolescence. The second part is an account of the days following his alcoholic father's death. This is graphic and haunting. All very memorable, but I'm not entirely convinced I want to read more. ( )
1 vote bodachliath | Jun 8, 2016 |
A curious project - I enjoyed reading this a lot, but I'm not sure I'll seek out the rest of the Struggle. Almost nothing happens, but it's all described so vividly - at times it reads like self-parody - that even the most minor of anecdotes takes on Biblical significance. Not for everyone, but well worth a try. ( )
  alexrichman | Jun 1, 2016 |
He had been her first born.
Children were not supposed to pre-decease their parents, they weren't supposed to. That was not the idea.
And to me, what had Dad been to me?
Someone I wished dead.
So why all these tears?

This almost indescribably rich and unputdownable memoir begins with a riff on death, as a physiological process, a phenomenon that simultaneously inspires reverence and horror, and a profoundly transformational event for those who are affected by the passing of the deceased person:

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run toward the body’s lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from outside as a dark, soft patch on ever whitening skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drain.

The moment life departs the body, it belongs to death…None of this is alien to us. We are constantly surrounded by objects and phenomena from the realm of the death. Nonetheless, there are few things that arouse in us greater distaste than to see a human being caught up in it, at least if we are to judge by the efforts we make to keep corpses out of sight.

It seemed to me as though a New Orleans brass band should have accompanied and played alongside Knausgaard during his haunting opening trumpet blast. However, unlike a typical Crescent City jazz funeral march, there will be no posthumous celebration of the life of the dearly departed, in this case Karl Ove’s father. Instead, he gives us an exploration of the man and his slow, downward spiral from a respected teacher, husband and father to a shell of a man, ravaged by alcoholism, poor health and self loathing, who suffers a grotesque and premature death in his childhood home at the side of his demented mother.

Karl Ove began this memoir as a young man, as he struggled to write a new novel and was invigorated but challenged by the demands of being a father to a young child, and the husband of a woman who loves him unconditionally but does not fully satisfy his wants and needs. He reflects on and describes, in great detail, his seemingly ordinary childhood as a sensitive and intelligent boy who seeks acceptance from his distant and judgmental father as validation of his own worth. He develops a taste for alcohol as a teenager, has a series of superficial relationships with girls, and stumbles his way toward a career as a writer.

When his brother informs him of his father’s death, the two young men drop everything and go to their grandmother’s house, to prepare for the funeral and provide support to their father’s ailing mother. Although Karl Ove never gained the love and respect he so desperately sought, he is profoundly affected by his father’s death, and he grapples to understand why it has caused him so much anguish.

My Struggle: Book One could rightfully be described as a navel gazing memoir, similar to others that have been recently written. However, it is much more than that: Knausgaard draws the reader into his story, as it reads like a rich novel with superb dialogue and a compelling story line, and I devoured this book far more quickly than I expected to.

Ultimately, no review, at least not this one, can do justice to this book. I urge you to read this book because it’s one of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read. Read it because it is a fascinating look at the life of a young man, and the troubled relationship between a father and a son. Read it because it is as good as any contemporary historical novel. Most importantly, as many others have said, just read it, despite my insufficient comments about it. You’ll be glad that you did. ( )
6 vote kidzdoc | Jan 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
“My Struggle” is not really a novel but the first book of a six-volume autobiography that is now notorious in Knausgaard’s native country. The Hitlerian title (“Min Kamp,” in Norwegian) refers not only to the usual stations of the bildungsroman but also to two fierce battles. One is with the author’s father, a morose and distant schoolteacher who left the family when Knausgaard was a teen-ager, and then drank himself to death. The more pervasive struggle is with death itself, in which writing is both weapon and battlefield.
. . .
There is a flatness and a prolixity to the prose; the long sentences have about them an almost careless avant-gardism, with their conversational additions and splayed run-ons. The writer seems not to be selecting or shaping anything, or even pausing to draw breath. Cliché is not spurned—time is falling through Knausgaard’s hands “like sand”; elsewhere in the book, the author tells us that falling in love was like being struck by lightning, that he was head over heels in love, that he was as hungry as a wolf. There is, perhaps, something a little gauche in his confessional volubility. But there is also a simplicity, an openness, and an innocence in his relation to life, and thus in his relation to the reader. Where many contemporary writers would reflexively turn to irony, Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties, unafraid to appear naïve or awkward. Although his sentences are long and loose, they are not cutely or aimlessly digressive: truth is repeatedly being struck at, not chatted up.
added by aileverte | editThe New Yorker, James Wood (Aug 13, 2012)
Knausgård går lige i mellemgulvet...Karl Ove Knausgårds ambitiøse romaprjekt MIN KAMP er en sejr for romankunsten.
added by 2810michael | editInformation
Min kamp. Første bok
Knausgård, Karl Ove
| ISBN 9788249506866

Karl Ove Knausgårds tredje roman innebærer en enorm litterær satsning, og er en stor bok i mer enn én forstand: Min kamp blir utgitt som seks romaner. Første, andre og tredje bok er utkommet, og fjerde, femte og sjette bok utkommer våren 2010.

Romanen åpner med en svimlende beskrivelse av døden. Derfra fortelles det om forfatteren Karl Ove Knausgårds kamp for å mestre livet og seg selv og sine egne ambisjoner på skrivingens vegne, i møte med de menneskene han har rundt seg. Min kamp. Første bok utforsker det å vokse opp og være overgitt en verden som ser ut til å være komplett, avsluttet, lukket. Romanen beskriver det unge blikkets varhet og usikkerhet, der det registrerer andre menneskers tilstedeværelse og vurderinger med en åpenhet som er voldsom og nesten selvutslettende i sin konsekvens.

I en borende prosa som oppsøker det sårbare, det pinlige og det eksistensielt betydningsbærende, blir dette en dypt personlig roman, selvutprøvende og kontroversiell. Et eksistensielt omdreiningspunkt er farens død, et annet er kanskje hovedpersonens debut som forfatter.

I 2009 ble Min kamp. Første bok kåret til en av de ti beste romanene siste tiår av VG. For denne boken mottok Karl Ove Knausgård Brageprisen, og han ble nominert til Nordisk Råds litteraturpris.

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Knausgård, Karl Oveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berf, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huttunen, KatriinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Molenaar, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paula StevensTranslatorsecondary 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.
He had been her first born.
Children were not supposed to pre-decease their parents, they weren't supposed to. That was not the idea.
And to me, what had Dad been to me?
Someone I wished dead.
So why all these tears?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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