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LA Review of Books takes on My Struggle


The LA Review of Books has posted a three-part essay on Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle.

In the first installment of this fascinating piece, William Pierce discusses, among other things, Knausgaard’s narrator:

Knausgaard brings back landscape and scale, he restores object and sequence: he attempts (and fails, sure) to re-achieve the sublime, to situate us in our true context of accident, coincidence, surprise, and mystery.

, controlled language:

His restraint shapes every page of the book. He alludes to this in an interview with Kyle Buckley at Hazlitt: “There’s one thing that I’m interested in in the whole book, or a couple of things, and everything else is excluded. […] So it’s very narrow, even if it’s 3,500 pages, it’s very narrow.” His urge to write each sequence to its conclusion — and yet, often, not to do it all at once but to braid in other narratives — is a structuring urge. The smallest moments are tributaries that lead to the larger streams and into the main current. Everything helps him tell what he’s telling, do what he’s doing — it all gives rise to, and supports, a larger point.

, and grand ambition:

With My Struggle, Knausgaard makes a bid — a huge, quixotic one — to restore the possibility of awe, which stems less from the length of the book or its focus on his life than in its colossal ambitions for what a novel can achieve.


Definitely read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.