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Winner of the Brage Award, the Book of the Year Prize in Morgenbladet, the P2 Listeners' Prize, and the Norwegian Critics' Prize
Nominated for the Nordic Council Literary Prize
A Norwegian Marcel Proust. This nerve-striking, addictive piece of hyper-realism, by the Norwegian Critics' Prize-winning author of A Time For Everything, has created a phenomenon throughout Scandinavia.
Almost ten years have passed since Karl Ove Knausgaard's father drank himself to death. Vulnerable and assailed by doubts, he is now embarking on a new novel. With an uncanny eye for detail, Knausgaard breaks down his own life story down to its elementary particles, reliving memories, reopening wounds, and examining with candor the turbulence and the epiphanies that emerge from his own experience of fatherhood, the fallout in the wake of his father's death, and his visceral connection to music, art, and literature. Negotiating intimacy, love, and fear lie at the heart of his movements and mind as he moves from self-deprecation to self-absorption, from craving solitude to exposing an insatiable need for love and admiration, from alienation to harmony. Karl Ove's dilemmas strike nerves that give us raw glimpses of our particular moment in history as we witness what happens to the sensitive and churning mind of a young man trying- as if his very life depended on it- to find his place in the disjointed world around him. This Proustian masterpiece opens a window into one of the most original minds writing today.
Listen to the songs that Knausgaard listens to throughout My Struggle.
AUTHOR TOUR: San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY
Listen to the Library of Congress' webcast featuring Karl Ove Knausgaard reading from My Struggle and discussing contemporary Norwegian literature.
"If I had known then what I know now, then no, definitely no, I wouldn't dare [write the book]," Knausgaard says in a profile in The Guardian. "But I'm glad I did. I will never do anything like this again, though, for sure. I have given away my soul, in a way."
Listen to Knausgaard's conversation with Siri Hustvedt at the NYC launch event.
Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses his book My Struggle with WNYC's Leonard Lopate.
Intense and vital . . . So powerfully alive to death . . . Where many contemporary writers would reflexively turn to irony, Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties. . . The need for totality . . . brings superb, lingering, celestial passages . . . He wants us to inhabit the ordinariness of life, which is sometimes vivid, sometimes banal, and sometimes momentous, but all of it perforce ordinary because it happens in the course of a life, and happens, in different forms, to everyone. . . The concluding sentences of the book [are] placid, plain, achieved. They have what Walter Benjamin called ‘the epic side of truth, wisdom.'"
—James Wood, The New Yorker
A profusion of quotidian ephemera--from binge drinking to cigarette after cigarette--serves to highlight the incommensurability of death in light of the banality of life...Knausgaard's gorgeous prose and enthralling reflections make this tome a rewarding struggle."
My Struggle teems with... "sensory bridges" that interweave description and reflection in an unaffected yet poetic fashion. Out of the ashes of his childhood and the cooling cinders of his youth, Knausgaard has fashioned a memoir that burns with the heat of life."
—Christopher Byrd, Barnes & Noble Review
It's a lucky reader who gets buried alive in this Norwegian literary avalanche. [My Struggle] is a free-wheeling, funny, smart, provocative, 471-page chunk of narrative that just keeps on coming."
—Nick DiMartino, Shelf Awareness
The level of detail is the main fictioneering touch...but there’s a feeling that something portentous is lurking behind the accumulating descriptions of unremarkable events."
—Christopher Tayler, London Review of Books
'I wanted to open the world by writing,' he says, and to seal in words those 'sudden states of clear-sightedness' that rescue reality for a hyper-intellectual era, 'enclosed around itself, enclosed around us.' Karl Ove seeks, as Nordic visionaries often have, the 'beyond': this book's refrain. And for wealthy, protected Westerners, 'death is the great beyond' - the last taboo, the ultimate truth. If you wished to classify Knausgaard's rhapsodic pursuit of everyday transcendence, you might label it Mortuary Realism. Death makes existence mean and matter. Sometimes overblown, quite often as sublime as its author hoped, this first installment of an epic quest should restore jaded readers to life."
—Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
Painful, touching, honest, and full of insight... It's like Knausgaard turns himself inside out and shows that side of himself that no man ever shows to anyone."
—Zin Magazine (Netherlands)
This autobiographical novel sneaks up on you and gets under your skin. The 43-year-old Norwegian describes his inner battles in a unique and painfully accurate way. What a beautiful novel."
Karl Ove Knausgaard achieved a huge success with his autobiographical series of novels."
—De Morgen (Netherlands)
A literary rock star... An unprecedented literary project."
Knausgaard hits bull's eye with his autobiographical novel, My Struggle."
Certainly, Knuasgaard's strength lies in his detailed descriptions of nature and the human psyche. But it is the gravity and truth occurring between the lines that makes this text authentic and necessary."
Knausgaard has thrown himself into an insane project, with a disdain for conventions that only true geniuses are able to obtain... My Struggle is a literary victory."
—Affari italiani (Italy)
This is a deeply touching book, free of taboos, its evocative descriptions bombarding the reader with questions."
—NDR Kultur (Germany)
Karl Ove Knausgaard's sentences have a magical pull that is difficult to escape."
—NDR 90.3 (Germany)
In his rendering of factual events, Knausgaard is a consistently realistic narrator. His reflections, on the other hand, are of seething intelligence and have an almost hypnotic effect."
—WDR 5 (Germany)
Knausgaard's thinking is magnificently unbridled."
—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)
The personal material is a rope around the neck, a knife in the heart. Nevertheless, the book is so full of magic... My Struggle is fierce and clever, and a fiercely clever read."
—Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark)
Knausgaard is a remarkable storyteller, who in flashes of memory staurated in emotion, breathes life into the traumas of the past... A shockingly good book."
—Ekstra bladet (Denmark)
The further into this work you get... the more it strikes you what a thought-through and devious work this is."
The Norwegian public have fallen on their knees in awe for this ambitious author, and with good reason... Knausgaard's realism and literary skills are... raw and fearless."
Knausgaard's sharp pen cuts deeply. However we, those who are not involved, can be nothing but delighted by how masterfully Knausgaard succeeds in creating a work of art out of what is personal and private."
—Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
Knausgaard's novel is a pure delight to read... We are talking here of literature: essays, reminiscences and fiction of the finest kind."
One can say with quiet confidence that Knausgaard's third novel, My Struggle, is an historic novel... Like other reviewers before me, I shower it with superlatives and award six stars after reading the first installment."
Knausgaard is huge, not only in the number of pages, but as a writer and a researcher of mood."
Knausgaard's hypnotic flow has such haunting qualities... is so consumed by its ambition to reach the core of existence through writing, that I absolutely have to read the [rest]."
The vast majority of novels are competently written. Then there are a number that are really good. And finally there are a few that are unnerving, completely engrossing, artistic experiences. Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle is in the final category."
A very promising struggle... You are not many pages into the first volume before the narrator hooks you in—without you even really noticing it."
—Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
Autobiographical or not, Knausgaard depicts his upbringing and human understanding with great literary qualities."
—Mari Nymoen Nilsen, VG (Norway)
Knausgaard's crazy six-volume project begins in the best possible way."
—Morten Abrahamsen, VG (Norway)
An absolutely unique reading experience, written with intensity and ambition."
—Guri Hjeltnes, VG (Norway)
A fantastic, trailblazing literary project!"
—Ingvar Ambjorsen, VG (Norway)
An obsessive reading experience surpassing most others in its ambition and execution."
—Ane Farsethas, Dagens Naeringsliv (Norway)
The obvious Norwegian number one of the year will, with his definitive 'masterpiece of reality', make a deeper impression than most others this decade."
—Per Kristian Bjorkeng, Afenposten (Norway)
Brilliant start to a giant autobiographical novel cycle.... The whole concept is horrendously risky, but on the page Knausgaard transforms this risk into tension of the most outstanding character."
—Ingunn Okland, Afenposten (Norway)
Many people have read My Struggle in the same way as we watch television series: insatiable, in continuous fresh helpings, imprinted on our own daily lives day by day, month by month... There are still new ways for literature to exist in the world."
—Trygve Riiser Gunderson, Dagbladet (Norway)
Neither surpassed nor equaled... Beautiful prose and profound humanity."
—Kaare Bulie, The Critics' Favorites of 2009, Dagbladet (Norway)
My Struggle is an immensely comprehensive, well-written exposure of the author's personal life and an existential literary experiment without parallel in Norwegian literature... Knausgaard writes about the contemporary collective repression of death, and he succeeds exceptionally well."
[My Struggle] is simultaneously so painful and of such sensationally high literary quality that it further illustrates what an unrivalled position Knausgaard occupies in contemporary Norwegian literature."
—Kulturtips, Dagbladet (Norway)
Knausgaard takes a chance and succeeds in writing about his subject matter as though he is the very first person to write about it... An author with such colossal ambitions, and such great talent to live up to them."
Knausgaard's intense, hungry prose propels the reader forward... A fantastic novel... I cannot say anything other than that I am looking forward desperately to the rest of it."
The most important question is: after reading the first 450 pages of Karl Ove Knausgaard's 2,700-page novel based on his own life, do you want more? The answer: YES!"
A relentless book, that embellishes nothing, but also a sincere quest, which proves that raw life, if told well, can yield a beautiful story."
—de Volkskrant (Netherlands)
Knausgaard writes enormously well. He writes with intensity and presence … The author has a remarkable ability to make seemingly trivial and boring matters glow."
Between Proust and the woods — allow yourselves to be seduced by a Norwegian life […] Like granite; precise and forceful. More real than reality."
—La Repubblica (Italy)
I can't stop, I want to stop, I can't stop, just one more page, then I will cook dinner, just one more page..."
A tremendous piece of literature."
A rare achievement. No one in his generation equals Knausgaard's combination of talent, style, observational skills, and original thinking."
Complex, abundant, shocking."