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My Struggle: Book 1 (2009)
by Karl Ove Knausgård
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It was quite a funny surprise running into Thomas Bernhard's name in the middle of this book as the spirit of his final offering, "Extinction" (1986) echoes throughout this both structurally and narratively. ( )
I've read the opening meditation on death about 3-4 times now (amazing) and have gotten to about 60 pages twice. It's beautiful. I love it. Someday I will be in the headspace to finish this slow, meditative magnum opus of a biography (?). But the frantic energy of being trapped in a rut during this pandemic is not helping me settle into it.
I'll give the conclusion of My Struggle 5 stars (despite the gratuitous but mostly readable central history/philosophy/poetry/religion essay digression) as the remaining 800 pages focus on the most engrossing material in the whole series, picking up the story from volume 2 of Knausgaard's then recent present, his daily life as a husband and father. Plus, there's the added meta-referential energy of his dealing with the success and controversy raised by the earlier volumes as we see him writing the later volumes.
I remain awed by Knausgaard's explosive creative breakthrough with My Struggle, 3500 pages written over 3.5 years, even though its force has been diluted some for readers like me who depended on the gradual emergence of the English translation in paperback about one per year. Will likely revisit books 2 and 6 again in the future.
This was a book that must have required an enormous amount of bravery to write. It is a scathingly honest account of a man's youth, his relationship with his father, and the subsequent death of that father. Everything in this book purports to tell the truth, even though the truth must sting bitterly in the telling. The dry, matter-of-fact way that Knausgaard writes is odd at times - do we need to know he went in to the newsagents to buy a Lion bar? - but it is effective - it grounds the text, keeps it at all times connected to reality, and this provides space in which the characters grow and become more tangible.
“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.
Knausgård går lige i mellemgulvet...Karl Ove Knausgårds ambitiøse romaprjekt MIN KAMP er en sejr for romankunsten.
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.
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My Struggle (1)
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In this utterly remarkable novel Karl Ove Knausgaard writes with painful honesty about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and unpredictable father, and his bewilderment and grief on his father's death.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)839.82 — Literature German and Germanic Literature in other Germanic languages Danish and Norwegian literature Norwegian Bokmål, Riksmål
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2 editions of this book were published by Archipelago Books.
Editions: 1935744186, 1935744526