Monday, September 26, 2016

Knausgaard's My Struggle Book 4

Book 4 of Karl Ove Knausgaard's six-book My Struggle deals with his late teenage years, as he leaves home and works as a teacher for a year in a remote area of northern Norway, which he sees as an opportunity to get paid while spending his free time writing fiction. There are two intertwined themes: the disintegration of his father and his awkward efforts to become an adult, which means writing and women.

His father was clearly a terribly troubled person, who was mean to his children and left his wife, and who later started drinking (which made him maudlin and annoying) and remarried. Knausgaard tries to connect and eventually realizes it isn't possible.

In northern Norway he's an 18 year old teacher and worries about his future and sex (there's more on premature ejaculation than you will likely see anywhere else). As always, he captures angst so well, so even when you dislike him (which definitely happens, I think more so than the previous books) you feel what he's feeling. He is trying to find his identity and deal with intense emotions, and Knausgaard just lays it all out without editorializing. And as always, the honesty is breathtaking and a little scary.


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