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A Man in Love: My Struggle Book 2 (Knausgaard) Paperback – 3 Oct 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (3 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099555174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099555179
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A stunningly eloquent set of reflections on masculinity, domesticity and the artist's itch to escape" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

"Punishingly honest record of the triumphs and banalities of his own life" (Tim Martin Telegraph)

"My favourite book of the year… He has the ability to make the small details of his life fascinating" (William Leith Spectator)

"A brutally honest self-examination in what feels like real time" (Justine Jordan Guardian Online)

"Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle is one of the most absorbing literary projects of recent times, one that has seen the Norwegian writer dubbed the Scandinavian Proust" (Stephen Romei Spectator)

"Packed with existential angst and fierce insights" (Big Issue in the North)

"Required reading for new fathers" (Richard Godwin Evening Standard)

"This is a reading experience like no other. Fearless in its truth-telling and as real as life, it is an epic study of what it feels like to be alive" (Carys Davies Metro)

Book Description

An electrifying honest and autobiographical love story from the international sensation and bestseller, Karl Ove Knausgaard

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this in the US hardback edition (available directly from Archipelago books) which was an experience that, as with volume 1, worked out well.

There is nothing in this second volume to equal the account in the second half of the first volume of Knausgaard going, with his brother, to visit the house in which his father died, where his grandmother now lives (with her mind unravelling) and which has been completely trashed by his alcoholic father over the previous three years.

But there is a great deal to enjoy, and I suspect remember: the full horror of finding it a struggle to cope with three children and of the politics of the family and the couple - and dealing with a mother in law who is drinking while looking after their first child for them part-time; a New Year's Eve party with friends (in which they all say their life has been going down hill and they are in their 30s); becoming a house husband; talks with his friend Geir and the differences between Swedish and Norwegian behaviours (of which I had previously has no idea - Swedes are civilised and controlled; Norwegians a little wild and let it all hang out); readings of his work and interviews; and reflections on Norwegian literature (which I expect I will soon forget!)….above all Knausgaard's determination to work (write) come what may - and come what may in terms of the consequences for his wife and his children…and Knausgaard in love, lacerating his own face with a broken bottle when an approach to the woman who will become his (second) wife has gone awry at a residential writer's workshop (and he is already married at the time)….

This remains a work like no other, and it remains a puzzle to me how the mundane details of life can provide the material for a work of fiction that holds the reader's attention…But I have now read two long books and expect I will soon set out on the third...
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I am presently bogged down in the description of a family group with small children whose every word is listened to by the writer, and transmitted faithfully to the reader.
The first volume, 'A death in the Family' was compulsive reading, with wonderful atmospheric restructuring of boyhood and a father-son relationship, where you could taste and smell the small town dreariness of Western Norway - reminiscent of Ibsen's youth. I wasn't struck by the apparently exact recall, believing that we can all bring up that degree of detail if we concentrate hard enough both at the time and in the memory. I'll have to get over my desire to spank the children and speak seriously to Mr Knausgaard about his child-rearing before I can continue with the series, which, I believe, is infinitely worthwhile.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For huge swathes of the novel this is really dull, not a patch on the first book in the series, and that had its 'longeurs'. The interminable conversations with other Scandinavian poets and novelists remind me of scenes with Jack Kerouac and the 'deadbeats' he hung around with and their endless aimless conversations.
While his unpleasant wife was giving birth the book burst briefly into life burst into life before resuming its dismal progress.
Knausgaard's egoism knows no bounds. He expects us to empathise with his dreary life without making the effort or having the skill to make it interesting.
I think this is seriously overhyped.
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By reader 451 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2016
Format: Paperback
‘The life around me was not meaningful. I always longed to be away from it, and always had done. So the life I led was not my own. I tried to make it mine, this was my struggle, because of course I wanted it, but I failed, the longing for something else undermined all my efforts.' This, in a nutshell, is what the My Struggle cycle of four books is about, though at 3,000 plus pages altogether, this lends itself less than any other work to any nutshell characterisation.

A Man in Love Family is the second of four volumes which, while they can be read entirely independently, purport together to tell the story of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s own life. Ostensibly autobiographical, the books appear to have been fictionalised in areas, or at least in the detail, though in the main it checks out. But the point is that Knausgaard’s life is no different from that of any average denizen of the modern, developed world, save perhaps that a writer is free from some of the professional constraints most people find themselves labouring under. His life is meant as an ordinary life, with a more or less fraught relationships, the search for professional success and meaning, friends, marriage, divorce, and so on. His struggle is everyone’s struggle.

A Man in Love, zooms in on the author’s relationship with his second wife, the Swede Linda. At first dazzled by Linda and entirely fulfilled, Knausgaard finds that the magic wears off as he gets used to married life and young children put pressure on his couple. Debates about the time and dedication each must invest in child rearing takes the place of unquestioning mutual devotion. And once again, Knausgaard labours to recover the sense of meaning he thought he had found in his everyday life.
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Format: Paperback
I think this is the best of the three Knausgaard volumes that I've read so far (I started with Book 3 and then read Book 1 - not a bad order to tackle them, as it happens). Having read about his childhood and his father's death, this volume covers fatherhood, though in fact we miss out a period that would have covered his first marriage, which we hear little about. Maybe that comes in the next installment, I'm not sure. Or maybe even Knausgaard can't think of much to say about it.

Why should we want to read about this rather ordinary life? That's the great mystery of Knausgaard: he manages to keep us reading while describing, in great detail, the boring routine of everyday life. This is reality literature: a rambling account of everything we all do all the time, detailed descriptions of making a cup of tea, boiling potatoes, changing a nappy, pouring a drink ... it's mostly banal, often dull, but also strangely compulsive and occasionally brilliant.

This book reaches new heights with a lengthy account of the birth of their first baby. It's by far the most moving part of the story so far, perhaps because the birth of a child is of course more moving than making a cup of tea, but also because Knausgaard captures the intensity of the whole thing quite brilliantly. I'd be surprised if any author has done it better.
But of course, not many authors have tackled these subjects before. Or at least, if they did they weren't published. This is what makes him so different: he wrote a 3,600-page novel detailing an ordinary life, and he actually got it published!

Knausgaard has been compared to Proust, with some justification, but Proust never wrote about this kind of thing. Where in `La Recherche' is the artful description of boiling potatoes?
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