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My Struggle: Book Three: Boyhood Island by…

My Struggle: Book Three: Boyhood Island (2009)

by Karl Ove Knausgård

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: My struggle (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5632326,266 (4.03)39
  1. 10
    I Refuse by Per Petterson (rrmmff2000)
    rrmmff2000: Utterly different in style, but both highly evocative accounts of the struggle towards adulthood in semi-rural Norway
  2. 00
    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell (petterw, julienne_preacher)
    petterw: En annen glitrende oppvekstroman

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» See also 39 mentions

English (14)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Just wonderful. Knausgaard is almost exactly my age. His 1979 was my 1979 and his early snogs were... well not quite, but he evokes a forgotten time and charges it with lost meaning. Heartbreaking, glorious and vital. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
This is likely where many hopeful readers abandon the Min Kamp quest. The terrain is challenging enough, the sorting of childhood and all that baggage. This particular trek is slick with tears: Karl Ove cries on almost every page. There's a measure of Bernhard in this prevailing condition, this lachrymose loop.

This young protagonist is stuck in a longing, acceptance and materialism can be the devil to many a poor soul. The upward possibility of the time derails tradition, the encounters with the grandparents illustrate this estrangement. An ambivalence reigns, one matched by nature.

My own thoughts were leaning to three stars but the final quarter presents a writhing spasm of contradictory impulses about sexuality. Such demanded pause. My thoughts drifted up from the page. K Pop was playing in the bistro and I considered the teenage heartache of a three minute music video. The kids even modify their features on their selfies. At least the pain remains genuine. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Karl Ove describes childhood so well, especially at a time (the 1970s) when many children were often left to roam free and fend for themselves. He and I are approximately the same age. However,this particular volume would be especially trigger-inducing regarding his frequent descriptions of his abusive father. I'm fortunate that I had great parents, but definitely was on my own a lot as far as navigating social relationships as was Karl Ove. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | Dec 4, 2018 |
Another winner by Mr. Knausgaard. Like with Books 1 and 2, I found myself continually wondering why I was so hooked reading about the mundane ins and outs of a regular person's life (in this book, his childhood years), and the only answer I can come up with is that he tells it with such clarity and insight you are totally propelled into the story, to the extent where you feel the emotions of being that child.

This was an uncomfortable read in places - as a child he had a total abject fear of his father, and seemed to exist in a permanent state of heightened anxiety waiting for him to receive his wrath.

I had to remind myself at times that this is not an autobiography in its purest sense - no one has this level of detail about their childhood, and clearly there are more gaps filled in with fictional accounts than real memories. But still - to achieve this sense of reality of being back in his own head as a child is nothing short of astounding.

Probably not my favourite of the 3 books I've read so far, but a winner nonetheless.

4 stars - can this man do no writing wrong? ( )
  AlisonY | Feb 10, 2017 |
Opgegeven na een kwart, bij de zoveelste passage waarin de ik-figuur als jongetje over een pad rent met kiezels langs een beekje en een weiland met links naaldbomen en in de verte een heuvel terwijl de lucht strakblauw is terwijl er toch een zacht briesje waait zodat het niet zo warm is dat je gaat zweten, enz enz.
Het is een lange innerlijke monoloog zonder afwisseling in ritme, zonder nadruk op specifieke passages. Spanningsloos. Het maakt op mij de indruk van een dmv een webcam op het hoofd van de jongen geplaatste camera die alles zonder filter, censuur, bewerking doorgeeft. Wil ik al die details echt lezen? Voegt het iets wezenlijks toe aan het, in deze zee van woorden verzuipende verhaal? Voor mij niet.
De vertelstijl en het taalgebruik zijn daarbij simpel, misschien met opzet omdat het de gedachten van de jongen zijn.
Ik heb het niet met Knausgard. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
We might wonder why, right now, we as readers are able to see Knausgaard pretty well. If “My Struggle” — which is arguably most engrossing when it describes the care of children in what feels like minute-to-minute detail — were written from the point of view of a woman, would it be the literary sensation it is? I don’t think it would be. But this points to blindnesses outside the book, not in it. That cultural norms are obtuse about men and women in such different ways is an essential part of Knausgaard’s predicament; he changes diapers, he cooks dinner, he is said to be pretty good-looking, he doesn’t talk about sex all that much — he often feels perceived as too feminine. This runs deep. One of his very few childhood memories of his mother involves her buying him a swim cap with flowers on it, and one of the most hilarious moments in the novel so far comes at a party when Knausgaard realizes no one expects him to be the guy to break down the door behind which his own pregnant wife is trapped. The female mirror of “My Struggle” would arguably not be a woman’s detailed domestic diary — we are all too comfortable seeing that situation as wholly normal, and therefore not seeing it at all — but instead a kind of virago story. Perhaps the vardoger that preceded “My Struggle” is that work by another Norwegian great, Henrik Ibsen — “A Doll’s House.”
This is not boring in the way bad narrative is boring; it is boring in the way life is boring, and somehow, almost perversely, that is a surprising thing to see on the page. My Struggle (a slippery, self-ironising title) is composed of small incidents, some described at great length – 50 pages at a children's party, more about a teenage plan to hide some cans of beer one New Year's Eve. There are sections about more traumatic or intimate events – the harrowing job of cleaning up after his father's death, a drunken episode of self-cutting after a sexual rejection at a young writers' residential course – but Knausgaard appears to have shaped his narrative according to the "sly and artful" dictates of his memory. One has the sense that many significant things have been omitted, while seemingly insignificant things are being given undue or unlikely weight. In the first two volumes the narrative hops about between times and places, incorporating digressions about art and writing and the nature of remembering. The third is a more conventionally linear childhood memoir. What there isn't is a plot. The various events are allowed to take their own shape, without being forced into a conventional mould.
. . .
The experience of reading My Struggle is that of the world seeming to step forward from the world. It is not the world mirrored or photocopied; its relationship to reality is less direct, less innocent. The book is the record of someone trying and failing (failing better, as Beckett has it) to make an accurate representation of himself; the gap between the world and that representation, between the world and itself, is the space where all sorts of questions about truth and personal identity arise.
added by aileverte | editThe Guardian, Hari Kunzru (Mar 7, 2014)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Knausgård, Karl Oveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bartlett, DonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huttunen, KatriinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Op een zachte, bewolkte dag in augustus 1969 reed een bus over een smalle weg op een eiland in Zuid-Noorwegen, tussen weilanden en rotsen, grasvelden en bosjes door, over lage heuvels en door krappe bochten, soms met bomen aan weerszijden, als een tunnel, soms vlak langs de zee.
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"The third volume--the book that made Knausgaard a phenomenon in the United States--in the addictive New York Times bestselling series A family of four--mother, father, and two boys--move to the south coast of Norway, to a new house on a newly developed site. It is the early 1970s and the family's trajectory is upwardly mobile: the future seems limitless. In painstaking, sometimes self-lacerating detail, Karl Ove Knausgaard paints a world familiar to anyone who can recall the intensity and novelty of childhood experience, one in which children and adults lead parallel lives that never meet. Perhaps the most Proustian in the series, My Struggle: Book 3 gives us Knausgaard's vivid, technicolor recollections of childhood, his emerging self-understanding, and the multilayered nature of time's passing, memory, and existence"--… (more)

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