In the Land of the Cyclops


Translated from by


ISBN: 9781939810748 eISBN: 9781939810755

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Book Description

In the Land of the Cyclops is a collection of thirty-seven essays by Karl Ove Knausgaard. In these pieces, he discusses Swedish politics, brain surgery, Laurie Anderson, Edvard Munch, the Northern Lights, and the work of an array of writers and visual artists (paired with full color images of their art). These essays beautifully capture Knausgaard’s ability to mediate between the deeply personal and the universal, demonstrating his trademark self-scrutiny and his deep longing to authentically see, understand, and experience the world.

"Knausgaard succeeds in producing prose that is 'alive' ... Such transgressive blurring of the borders between the public and private, sayable and unsayable, can be both life-affirming and riveting."
The Economist

"Knausgaard argues that art is at its most effective when it destabilizes our understanding of the world... The moody, provocative black-and-white photos of Francesca Woodman reveal the “constraints of our culture and what they do to our identity” while Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission succeeds because it suggests how easily disillusioned people might accept political upheaval, asking “What does it mean to be a human being without faith?”... The throughline is the author’s keen, almost anxious urge to understand the artistic mind."


"What’s notable is Karl Ove’s ability, rare these days, to be fully present in and mindful of his own existence. Every detail is put down without apparent vanity or decoration, as if the writing and the living are happening simultaneously. There shouldn’t be anything remarkable about any of it except for the fact that it immerses you totally. You live his life with him.”
Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

“Knausgaard . . . strips away the literary tricks, bursts through language, explodes artifice . . . Honest and wise . . . rare properties in contemporary writing . . . Book Two sears the reader because Knausgaard is a passionate idealist and not just a tetchy complainer. He wants to create great art, and he wants to fight the conformity and homogeneity of modern bourgeois existence.”
James Wood

"Perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our time."
The Guardian

“My Struggle is an astonishing creation, in which Knausgaard invents a monstrous, tender, brutal, gentle, vain, humble, selfish, brilliant and banal man called Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose life he minutely documents.”
Richard Flanagan, The Age

Click here to read The New Republic’s profile of Knausgaard & the My Struggle series.

Knausgaard discusses names, morality, the process of writing, the My Struggle series, and more with Scott Esposito for Tin House.

Knausgaard’s essay on fame in the New York Times Style Magazine.