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A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard)

A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 (Knausgaard) [Kindle Edition]

Karl Ove Knausgaard , Don Bartlett
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Long, intense, and vital. ceaselessly compelling. superb, lingering, celestial passages" (James Wood New Yorker)

"This first instalment of an epic quest should restore jaded readers to life" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

"Bowled me over. The slow pace of disclosure makes this account of a Norwegian adolescence pulse with intensity" (Selina Guinness Irish Independent)

"This is the first part of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard's six book mega-novel, based on his own life - and if there's any justice the craze for Nordic noir should mean British readers greet it with open arms... as tense as any thriller yet without a jot of sensationalism" (Metro)

"[A] revelation. Using the everyday material of family tension and dysfunction, Knausgaard out-Franzens Franzen in a virtuoso chronicle of youth - ruthless, hilarious, unbearably well-observed" (Independent)

Book Description

An international phenomenon, which has been declared a masterpiece everywhere it has been published. A searingly honest, addictive and controversial read.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1013 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099555166
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (1 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00755HTNY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Days of His Life 27 April 2013
Novels are often autobiographical, and memoirs usually have as much fiction as fact. So what is Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle? It's clearly his personal story, told in a hyper-realistic manner. When I saw him in conversation with James Wood in September 2012 at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, he said yes, of course this is a novel, not a memoir: he uses the techniques of a novelist. But it's something simpler than that: it's an extremely effective piece of storytelling, the elemental kind that is how we make sense of our lives.

Why should readers care about the story of Karl Ove's life? It's not that it's in any way remarkable, though it certainly has its personal dramas. No, it's the almost guileless realism that drew me in--all the small details that make up our everyday lives that rarely get acknowledged in books, but which completely resonates at some deep inner level. And while there are passages where the writing is plain--no other word for it--often Knausgaard is employing the careful wordcraft of a skilled writer more concerned with telling his story than showing off his chops. In doing so, he gets to the heart of being in all its everyday ordinariness.

Knausgaard spares no one in his family in this portrayal, least of all himself. We see family scenes from his childhood, a long section from his teenage years that's blissfully free of moralizing or wallowing in self pity: it's simply life itself.

But ultimately the book is about death, and what that means for the living. My Struggle opens with a meditation on life's end, and the heart of the book recounts Karl Ove's week after learning of his father's death, most of it spent at his grandmother's fetid home in Kristiansand, a town on the southern coast of Norway.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but not likeable 3 Jun 2013
By Lenni E
Format:Kindle Edition
I can not decide whether or not I like this book. I found it self-indulgent, and I at times felt that the author was incredibly arrogant. The book appears to have been written as self-therapy, to cleanse the author of his feelings about his father. We never really find out why the author hated his father so much, nor do we discover much about what seems to have been a very good relationship with his mother. The style of the book is sometimes very difficult to read: there are whole pages without a single paragraph break, and there is little flow of narrative. You could start reading this book at any point and not lose the flow.
This book definitely is not as good as the praise at the front of the book suggests. But at the same time, I did want to read it. Although not likeable, the author's character is intriguing; his observations of human nature are fascinating, his descriptions of the things he sees brings them alive. And yet he appears to have no ability to interpret his own behaviour. It has bee suggested that the author may be somewhere on the autism spectrum; he is highly intelligent, but seems unable to truly relate to others.
I can't say I enjoyed the book. I can't say I would recommend it to others to read. But I am glad I took the time to read it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "masterpiece" is not an exaggeration 5 Jan 2013
I would rarely use the word "masterpiece" to descrive a contemporary novel, let alone an autobiography, but this book deserves this title.

You have to admit he has guts: writing a six - part autobiography and calling it "My struggle" (in German translated as "Mein Kampf") is a daring enterprise. But Knausgard succeeds with brio: he is a brilliant story teller and explores the human condition with such honesty and candour that it just leaves you gasping for breath (and wanting to read more and more).

The scenes at the end of the book (his father, his grandmother, the house, the bottles, ....) still haunt my mind.

Apparently Knausgard has achieved a kind of rock star status in Scandinavia: as far as I am concerned he deserves it.

The second book of the series "A man in love" has already appeared in the Dutch translation and is a little bit disappointing after the sheer brilliance of the first, but that is only to be expected. This book is to be released in April in English. By that time I will have read part three of "My Struggle" and it is already marked on my calendar that I have to get the moment it comes out.

Seriously, this is a reading experience not to be missed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dull life was never more compelling 26 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What makes this book so riveting - and it is - is fascinating in itself. The descriptions can seem sometimes mundane to the point of absurdity (how long can anyone talk about cleaning?). They are also sometimes poetic, mind you. But the author's life is at once so unremarkable yet underlain with tension like piano wire, and it is an extraordinary achievement. Captivating - but why?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever 26 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is the best book ever, like Proust or Dickens set in my lifetime. Writing a book about memories triggered by cakes is genius, but one where the reminiscences include Echo and the Bunnymen has relevance and resonance as well. There is a line in here, clumsily translated perhaps, about the disappointment of finding rubbish music in motorway service stations that sums up life.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, tragic and very controversial 18 April 2012
`A Death in the Family' (My Struggle: Vol 1) takes the autobiographical novel to the extreme. Knausgaard has written the truth, this is his reality. The frankness of his 6 Volume work has alienated him from half his family and he admits that the scandal accompanying its publication has contributed to its bestselling status in Norway where it has become a national obsession.

The central figure is his father, an ordinary school teacher who became an alcoholic and drank himself to death. There is no plot or formal structure and Knausgaard moves around freely in time as a particular event reminds him of something that happened in the past. It is about his struggle to write great literature while having to contend with the banality of everyday life including looking after his children, he loves them but is brutally honest about the fact he also resents the time they take up in his life. At times it can be almost uncomfortable learning about one man's life in such detail, but it is fascinating. Although it is a personal narrative about the struggles of a writers life it also explores the struggles universal to us all.

There are no chapters and frequently a single paragraph can take up several pages which may sound daunting but the compelling narrative kept me going. Memories and events in his life are described in minute detail, for example, the time that he and his brother clean their grandmother's house after their father died there; having wrecked the place. In spite of the detail of the mundane `A Death in the Family' is not boring, although Part 1 is the hardest to get through but it really takes off in Part 2 leaving me wanting to read the second volume.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Product great price will buy from again !
Published 6 days ago by Henry William Hubball
5.0 out of 5 stars Writers like Karl Ove come along maybe once in a generation, I am glad...
I am totally hooked on Karl Ove's writing as I don't think any other writer I have ever read could write about the most mundane of life's trivialities and make them actually... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Pat Downes
3.0 out of 5 stars though I'd heard good reviews about it
The book didn't really grip me, though I'd heard good reviews about it.
Published 27 days ago by Suzysoux
5.0 out of 5 stars A 21st century masterpiece ...
It wasn't until I looked up the name 'Karl Ove Knausgaard' that I realised I had already read one of his books, 'A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven', which didn't impress me and... Read more
Published 28 days ago by P. Millar
4.0 out of 5 stars "The days from which these incidents are drawn were countless, the...
An amazing read, but one that's hard to review. It's somewhere between a memoir and a work of literature: opening with the author recollecting his early childhood, with a father he... Read more
Published 1 month ago by sally tarbox
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and very
Talk about a lstruggle I struggled with this book.Every detail of every cigarette lit, meal eaten etc.Tedious and very long
Published 1 month ago by j h crump
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thought provoking novel. Lays his own exoerience bare for you to make what you want of it.
Published 1 month ago by Bookish
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading it is like getting to know a new friend who you're slowly ...
I had read a few reviews of this book and curiosity eventually drove me to buy it. No regrets! Reading it is like getting to know a new friend who you're slowly falling in love... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amanda Lomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hard to get into!
Published 1 month ago by kt17mike
5.0 out of 5 stars He thought it brilliant and has since purchased others by the same
Bought this for my husband and rated by him! He thought it brilliant and has since purchased others by the same author
Published 2 months ago by E M Harrison
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