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A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven Paperback – 6 Jul 2009

37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd; New edition edition (6 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846270197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846270192
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karl Ove Knausgaard's first novel, Out of the World, was the first ever debut novel to win the Norwegian Critics' Prize and his second, A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven, was widely acclaimed.

A Death in the Family, the first of the My Struggle cycle of novels, was awarded the prestigious Brage Award.

The My Struggle cycle has been heralded as a masterpiece wherever it appears.

Product Description

Review

"'Knausgaard writes world-class literature.... You simply have to read this.' - Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

KARL O. KNAUSGAARD was born in Norway in 1968 and made his debut with Out of This World. This, his second novel, was nominated for the Nordic Council Prize, and is his first to be translated into English. Translation rights have sold widely in Europe.

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Mann VINE VOICE on 23 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Knausgaard has created a surreal world of angels and Bible characters, which covers the stories we read about in the Bible but not at all in the way we are familar with.

He has a wonderful attention to detail, creating a startling picture of life in the time of Cain and Abel for example. Whereas of course in the Bible we really know nothing of the inner life of these people, we simply get a very brief description of what they did, in 'A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven' we learn all about the hopes, fears and motivations of these people, but the way Knausgaard does this is gripping.

Admittedly some people will be shocked at the details covered in this story, but there is a strangeness about the Bible stories that needs to be rediscovered. Too often we "normalise" the unusual and bizarre in the Bible simply through over-familarity with the characters and events, with Knausgaard we are in a world we don't understand and perhaps never will.

If William S. Burroughs had a dream about angels in the Bible it might go something like this, or perhaps Knausgaard is the pen-name of Mark E. Smith of "The Fall". This book takes you on a trip full of colours you won't forget.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tristram trismegistus on 1 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This translation of Knausgaard's second novel "En Tid For Alt" was radically restructured by its UK publisher for unknowable reasons. Now that Knausgaard has found fame with Min Kamp (and a new UK publisher), Portobello Books will be reissuing this as "A Time for Everything" in 2015 in line with the original.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 May 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A novel with a title as long as the book, relatively speaking. With over 500 pages, the author has provided us with a treatise - his treatise - on Angels.

Initially set in the 16th. century around a young boy, Antinous Bellori who comes across, unexpectdely, of course, a couple of angels high in the North Italian mountains, fishing with torch and spear. Thus we immediately realise that this book will not be the usual religious fare on Angels and their relationship with man. Re-telling two Old Testament stories takes up half the book, a beautifully explored view of the life of people from the period of Genesis going about their average daily life - but with guns, with stoves, takes the reader further into exploration and finally, up-to-date with a troubling account of a boy's relationship with his father and the world in which we live.

A marvellous book. Certainly thought-provoking and, happily, highly readable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pip on 21 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
But like all masterpieces, it requires attention, patience and self-abnegation. If you give it that, it will bring you closer to an intimation of the divine, and of a heightened understanding of the ways of God. It is fit to keep company with Milton's Paradise Lost -- also not an 'easy' read...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cat Mac VINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Karl Knausgaard's book 'A Time to every purpose under heaven' is a bit of a revelation. Although for the first 50 pages or so, you're convinced that this is merely going to be a literary study on every appearance of Angels ever recorded (biblical or otherwise), we take a left turn somewhere along the way. Instead we end up with an original and insightful portrayal of Cain and Abel, and then an equally unexpected study of Noah and his family, pre-Ark.

These two centre pieces are sandwiched between the story of Antinous Bellori (who I'm guessing is a fictional character!), a man who after seeing real-life Angels as a boy, dedicates his life to seeking the truth about their time here on Earth and their relationship with God.

Instead of being sensationalist and providing arguments purely to serve the purpose of offending people, Knausgaard's book is actually really well thought out and delivered really well. You may have to put some of your more stringent religious sensibilities (if Christianity is your thing) aside just to hear him out, but I guarantee it gives food for thought. Certainly brings a fresh perspective.

A couple of little hurdles to get over - firstly, this is a direct translation from Norwegian. I don't know much about Nordic languages, but the effect in the translation is that sentences and paragraphs tend to run on a bit. Once you get your eye in after a dozen or so pages, you'll be fine, but at first it can look like large blocks of text with no breaks!
The second hurdle is that in the fresh-telling of Cain and Abel and Noah's stories, the author has the scene set as an almost middle-ages pastoral setting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Pawley on 27 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a well-written and imaginitive work, built around retellings of biblical stories and meditations on the idea of angels. Unfortunately, the writing is rather dense, and thus will not necessarily capture and hold the reader's attention. This makes it harder work than it really needs to be.
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By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback
"Perhaps Cain also keeps his thoughts under lock and key. Cage after cage of snarling thoughts he hardly dares pass, let alone take out, harness, and arrange into a team, which with heavy hand and cracking whip, he can get to pull him at breakneck speed through his own consciousness."

Within this giant novel (almost 500 pages, mostly well-packed with around 400 words) are two shorter novels, several short stories, re-writes of the dramatic opening chapters of the Bible's book of Ezekiel and of the story (from Genesis) of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and some faux historical/theological writing, some of it derived from the writing of luminaries such as St Augustine, much of it from fictitious works of angelology. Of the latter, On the Nature of Angels by Antoni Bellori (1585) is given particular prominence. The tale of Bellori's lifetime study of the nature and history of angels provides a narrative thread almost throughout the book, plus short stories at the beginning and almost at the end of the book.

The Bible identifies four ranks of angel - Cherubim, Seraphim, Angels and Archangels. There were also Nephilim, who Bellori concluded were the result of angels mating with the 'daughters of men'. God was unhappy with that development and determined to destroy the Nephilim along with all other life on earth, sparing only Noah and his immediate family. That leads us into the longest and most successful of the self-contained stories. Although we learn much about Noah - an albino, sensitive, artistic, a misfit in his agrarian society - the narrative focuses primarily on his wider family, those who were not saved, and their experience of the flood.
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