Top positive review
The struggles continue
on 14 August 2017
The second in the magisterial fiction series, that is closely autobiographical to Karl Ove Knausgaard’s own life. The substantial volume follows the first in the series – forensic accounts of episodes from the narrator’s past, in conjunction with philosophical and literary thoughts. The narrative begins with the Norwegian narrator, Karl Ove himself, living in Sweden with his three children and wife, Linda and then works it way slowly, in a decidedly non-linear way, to establish how he got to this situation, with all its daily frustrations and rewards. At times it’s a bit like a Russian doll of a book, in that he will wander off to discuss another strand of the story, leaving previous other elements unconcluded, and then returns to them, to confuse the inattentive reader.
The core of the story is about Karl Ove’s new relationship with Linda, with whom by 2009 he had three children. He was already married, to Tonje, but feels stifled in Norway, and bolts, moving to Stockholm, where he meets and becomes enraptured by his new love. The challenging romance and relationship is described in, at times, painful detail.
At times, Knausgaard seems rather like Philip Larkin in his need for solitude and quiet, while still balancing a fairly complicated social existence, as well as disliking the publicity that comes with being a well-known and talented writer.