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

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 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 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,855 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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Karl Ove Knausgaard's struggle to write his follow up novel continues in `A Man in Love'. Once again memories and events are described in minute detail and he moves between various times in his life, `A Death in the Family' centred on Knausgaard's relationship with his father and `A Man in Love' centres on his relationship with Linda, who becomes his second wife. This relationship is described warts and all, the arguments, the breaking up and making up. It can't have been easy for the authors second wife to read such honesty within the pages of this novel. I particularly sympathised with his experience of a children's birthday party.

At the end of this novel Knausgaard writes about writing the events which make up Volume 1 `A Death in the Family', about how painful it was but that it was something he just had to write. By the end of this novel I had a better understanding of how this cycle of novels came to be written, an understanding of how he views fiction. I am also aware of his opinion on reviews (he doesn't read them) and literary prizes.

I am as guilty as anyone of lumping the Scandinavian countries together, it was quite an eye opener to learn how different Norway and Sweden really are through the eyes of Knausgaard, there are times when he is far from complimentary about his adopted country.

Like Vol 1 this is written as a continuous narrative, but I did find it harder to read, for a start it is quite a bit longer and unlike Vol 1 it is not divided into 2 parts. It took me a while to really get into it but I got through around the last 100 pages in one sitting and found myself wanting to read Vol 3.
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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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