Saturday, August 26, 2017

Karl Ove Knausgaard's Autumn

Karl Ove Knausgaard's Autumn is not part of his My Struggle sextet (the last of which does not come out in English until next year) but it's the next best thing. It is a series of short essays and letters to his unborn daughter, emphasizing the beautiful (he uses that word a lot, too much really) in ordinary things. Toilets, wasps, chewing gum, you name it. He's so good at making the ordinary interesting that I liked them despite how mundane they sound. The chapters all wonder about how we relate to the world, even how our bodies open up to it.

But being the compulsively honest person he is, even to his daughter he writes about labia, piss, and vomit. And there are passages like this:

The stars are out tonight. I was just outside taking a leak on the lawn, something I do only when everyone is asleep and I'm alone (p. 85).

No context, nothing. That's how he rolls. Yet at the same time he is so earnest. He loves his children dearly and wants to explain the world--all of it--to them.


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