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Boyhood Island (My Struggle 3) [Hardcover]

Karl Ove Knausgaard , Don Bartlett
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Mar 2014 My Struggle 3 (Book 3)

'It's unbelievable . I need the next volume like crack. It's completely blown my mind.' Zadie Smith

'Perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our times' Rachel Cusk, Guardian

Childhood is exhilarating and terrifying. For the young Karl Ove, new houses, classes and friends are met with manic excitement and creeping dread. Adults occupy godlike positions of power, benevolent in the case of his doting mother, tyrannical in the case of his cruel father.

In the now infamously direct style of the My Struggle cycle, Knausgaard describes a time in which victories and defeats are felt keenly and every attempt at self-definition is frustrated. This is a book about family, memory and how we never become quite what we set out to be.

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Boyhood Island (My Struggle 3) + A Man In Love: My Struggle Book 2 (Knausgaard) + A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (20 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846557224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846557224
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.4 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Knausgaard's Proustian attention to detail and scrupulous analysis of emotional nuance is almost maddening - but ultimately magnificent" (Vogue)

"Compelling and addictive... One of the most grown-up works of fiction we have" (Hermione Hoby Observer)

Book Description

An autobiographical story of childhood and family from the international sensation and bestseller, Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning and accurate portrayal of childhood 6 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As the title suggests for the 3rd volume in the 'My Struggle' cycle Knausgaard revisits childhood. 'Boyhood Island' opens with the family arriving on the island of Tromøya in August 1969, when Karl Ove is a baby and ends as they leave the island with Karl Ove now a teenager. I defy anyone who reads this book not to think of their own childhood, the successes and failures, fears, times of embarrassment, friends and enemies,not to mention your first boy/girlfriend and broken heart.If you have read 'Death in the Family', the first volume, you will already know that Karl Ove had a very difficult relationship with his father and this one paints the picture of this relationship in detail. Knausgaard writes with complete honesty and makes the most mundane events and situations interesting and compelling, leaving me - and I am sure many published authors feel the same - wondering 'how does he do it?'

I found this volume the easiest to read and it would be a good starting point for anyone who hasn't read the other books. It is a continuous narrative and there are, as I expected, long paragraphs but 'Boyhood Island' is more of a straight narrative, with very little moving around in time and only on a couple of occasions does the Karl Ove of the present make an appearance. It is hard not to become completely absorbed by the story, reading time extended as I thought 'just another page or 2 and then I will do the ironing, cook dinner, or whatever'.

As I finished 'Boyhood Island' I immediately wanted to read the next book, but as there is about a year before I will be able too I returned to 'A Death in the Family', even though I had another couple of novels on the go at the time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fear, trembling and exhilaration of childhood 6 May 2014
By Sabina
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is my first Knausgaard. I liked the lucid prose and was pained by the childhood knots and embarrassments and Karl Ove's fear of his bullying father. And then there are the fresh, as-if-it-happened-yesterday descriptions of romps in the forest, the friendships interwoven with pre-teen complexes to do with acceptance/rejection, the landscape of a Norwegian island, holidays on his grandparents' farm, the first, awkward sexual experimentations. And the question which nags as you read - his mum was so nice, why couldn't she rescue him from his dad's rages? (The father did keep his more sadistic outbursts for when she wasn't around). But then isn't this why childhood can be so painful - you don't disclose your deepest fears to anyone? But with the immediacy of childhood, Karl Ove can be feeling stuck and deeply despondent and then suddenly he is out there on his bike looking for discarded porn mags with his friend Geir, very much in the moment. Excellent writing in many ways.
Why not five stars? Well, I have to admit that there were a few paragraphs which interested me less, with their detailed long descriptions and I skim-read them. But when I focused back in, it was always worth it and the scenes came alive. The final impression is of a most vivid portrayal of this boy's childhood, his acute sensitivities and his resilience, and it cannot but resonate with many aspects of any reader's childhood too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring on the next one! 30 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I JUST love this guy's writing, and that's now a perfect first three volumes. Forget all the hype and just get lost in these wonderful, Proustian paragraphs. An amazing talent, utterly addictive.
Absolutely recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Struggle everyone can relate to. 29 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read his first two books in the "My Struggle" series and find the third "Boyhood Island" compelling and very on point. I think most people, male and female, can relate to the situations illustrated so eloquently in this book. We all have the embarrassing moments, such as Karl Ove's swim cap for his swim lessons and the resulting harassment from schoolmates, during our school years that are so much like this, we can all relate. A very moving and touching book. Karl Ove writes in such a way that as a reader you "know" it his story, but you don't "know", it is crafted very well. As a Norwegian three generations removed from Norway I can see glimpses of heritage, I cannot wait for 4,5 and 6 to be translated into English. Bravo Karl Ove Knausgaard for an excellent series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proust 26 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is phenomenal writing.He has been compared to Proust and so he should be. Whatever I say will be inadequate. I'm addicted to this man's writing I read him in the morning and after lunch and before I go to bed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive reading! 20 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As for the other 2 books of the series, I cannot stop to read it.
It's compulsive.
My only problem is that now I NEED the next book, and I'm afraid I have to wait another year!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By jw1951
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read the two previous volumes, which aren't obligatory but it's probably advisable to read the work in order. It's hard to know why Knausgaard's series is so gripping, but it is. Here, he recounts his childhood on an island. Nothing super-dramatic happens, but the narrative carries you along. His relationships with his family and friends, sexual awakening of a sort, all these are described, as well as the rather strange, isolated environment in which he's brought up. The whole series has been highly praised and in my view deserves the praise it's been given. Let's hope we English-speakers don't have to wait too long for the rest.
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