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My Struggle: Book 1 [Kindle Edition]

Karl Ove Knausgaard , Don Bartlett
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.89
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Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

My Struggle: Book One introduces American readers to the audacious, addictive, and profoundly surprising international literary sensation that is the provocative and brilliant six-volume autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It has already been anointed a Proustian masterpiece and is the rare work of dazzling literary originality that is intensely, irresistibly readable. Unafraid of the big issues—death, love, art, fear—and yet committed to the intimate details of life as it is lived, My Struggle is an essential work of contemporary literature.

Editorial Reviews


"Knausgaard broke the sound barrier of the autobiographical novel."  -- Jeffrey Eugenides

"What's notable is Karl Ove's ability, rare these days, to be fully present in and mindful of his own existence. Every detail is put down without apparent vanity or decoration, as if the writing and the living are happening simultaneously. There shouldn't be anything remarkable about any of it except for the fact that it immerses you totally. You live his life with him. . . . The overweening absurdity of Ove's title is a bad joke that keeps coming back to you as you try to construct a life worthy of an adult. How to be more present, more mindful? Of ourselves, of others? For others?" -- Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books

"...reading My Struggle, you have the sense that Knausgaard has made a wonderful discovery, an almost scientific innovation. My Struggle is something new, something brave..." -- n + 1

"...It sounds like straightforward autobiography, but such is the power of its relentless comprehensiveness that it acquires an almost otherworldly quality..." -- The Guardian (A "Ten Best Long Read", alongside the likes of Middlemarch, Infinite Jest and 2666)

"The book investigates the bottomless accumulation of mysteries everyday life imposes. . . Knausgaard's approach is plain and scrupulous, sometimes casual, yet he never writes down. His subject is the beauty and terror of the fact that all life coexists with itself. A living hero who landed on greatness by abandoning every typical literary feint, an emperor whose nakedness surpasses royal finery." -- Jonathan Lethem, The Guardian

"It would not be an exaggeration to say that Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume memoir “My Struggle” (Archipelago Books) — of which three volumes have been translated into English — has catapulted the Norwegian writer into the rarefied company of such authors as James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Henry Miller. These writers burst forth with a new consciousness and in so doing became the voice of their generation. Years hence we will be talking about Knausgaard’s incredibly detailed memoir cycle doing the same for the late 20th century." — The Providence Journal

"Perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our time." -- The Guardian (UK)

"Why would you read a six-volume, 3,600-page Norwegian novel about a man writing a six-volume, 3,600-page Norwegian novel? The short answer is that it is breathtakingly good, and so you cannot stop yourself, and would not want to...Arrestingly beautiful." --The New York Times Book Review

"Knausgaard has written one of those books so aesthetically forceful as to be revolutionary. Before, there was no My Struggle; now there is, and things are different. The digressiveness of Sebald or Proust is transposed into direct, unmetaphorical language."  -- The Paris Review

"A six-volume literary experiment in which a contemporary Norwegian author describes his own life may sound dull. But Knausgaard's literary experiment is both brutally honest and far from dull. Trust me, it'll be worth waiting for volumes three through six to appear in English translation." — Jo Nesbo, in The Week (one of Jo Nesbo's six favorite books)

"The way in which Knausgaard seeks to expose the dark, regressive aspects of his own character within the context of a life that is, in most respects, quite ordinary is precisely what allows these books to transcend their narrowly personal foundations."— Sydney Review of Books

"Volumes 1 and 2 of Karl Ove Knausgård's epic novel/memoir My Struggle (Harvill Secker) blew me away: totally immersive, collapsing the wall between author and reader as you live his life alongside him. It's somehow triumphant and redemptive – and powerfully addictive – even as it recounts the most apparently mundane aspects of life. He's a genius."— Simon Prosser, Publisher, Hamish Hamilton, in The Guardian
"Both Knausgaard’s Proustian style and the fact that his work is one long book stretched out into many volumes, just like In Search of Lost Time, should signal that it’s a literary event the likes of which we probably will not see again in our lifetimes. . . . Unlike almost every other work of art released in the 21st century, Knausgaard’s massive book is an ongoing cultural event that we’re being afforded the opportunity to savor." -- Jason Diamond, Flavorwire
"The translation and worldwide distribution of Karl Ove Knausgaard's exquisite six-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle will be remembered as a landmark literary event. The work is unquestionably a contemporary classic..." --

About the Author

Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. His debut novel Out of This World won the Norwegian Critics Prize in 2004 and his A Time for Everything (Archipelago) was a finalist for the Nordic Council Prize. For My Struggle, Knausgaard received the Brage Award in 2009 (for Book One), the 2010 Book of the Year Prize in Morgenbladet, and the P2 Listeners' Prize. It is also a finalist for The Believer Fiction Prize. My Struggle has been translated into more than fifiteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and three children. The author lives in Sweden.

Product Details

  • File Size: 610 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (May 2, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
144 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and it's only the first volume May 1, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Knausgård's first volume in his 6 volume My Struggle has finally been published in English. This is one of the most successful books ever published in Norway and deserves a wider audience. Book One introduces us to Knausgård's life with his recollections of his earliest memories through his teenage years. The second half, focused on arranging his father's funeral while finishing his first novel, deals with his complicated relationship and feelings about his very strange and pathetic father.

The series itself is a strange venture. On one level it is simply a memoir by a 40 year old writer who has achieved great acclaim in Norway (but is almost unknown outside the Scandinavian countries). On a more lurid level, it is a "reality show" in book form, its essence being a brutally honest intrusion into the author's life, and more notably, the lives of everyone around him. But the value and genius of this book is that Knausgård has an extraordinary ability to articulate the feelings and perceptions of ordinary people as they live their ordinary lives, make choices, and deal with the consequences of those choices. His self-awareness is refreshing and hilarious. Poetry in prose.

The book was released this morning. I intended to read a few pages this morning, but was unable to put it down. It is that good.

I read a lot of Norwegian literature in translation and Don Bartlett, the translator, is one of the best. He has always impressed me with his focus on retaining the feel of the original language and did a great job with My Struggle.

Here's hoping Book Two is published soon.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Days of His Life June 2, 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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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Incredible Insight into Human Relationships July 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a difficult book to categorize, but whatever it is - novel or memoir - it is hard to put down down even when it bogs down in minute details. Perhaps the only complaint I have is how much time is spent on his teenage years. Nothing extraordinary happens and the insights into his relationships with his family are wonderful, but the day-to-day stuff of an average teenager was less interesting to me - who cares what he smoked or drank, where he walked, whom he saw - I wanted more about relationships (familial or otherwise). But I suppose that is necessary if he is going to cover his whole life. And he does get back to the relationships. His comments on fatherhood, marriage, his parents, his siblings, his grandparents are brutally honest - they are all good people whom I'll bet weren't completely happy when this book first came out in Norway. You feel like you have stepped into another's person's life and are sitting on their shoulder watching it unfold hour by hour - and even understanding their thoughts. But the whole book is mesmerizing and I can't wait for a translation of the other five volumes. His memories (or recreations) of details are incredible. In most books details aren't mentioned unless they have some further meaning in the plot, but for him he wants to give us all the details even those that are more or less meaningless - which is how it is in real life. His struggles to balance writing with family life are heartbreaking and anyone with young children will sympathize, though few would state it so bluntly. The whole final section of the book dealing with the death of his father is a masterpiece of reality writing. I hope the translators are rushing with the next volumes (this can't be easy stuff to translate so my hat goes out to them).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading this book. I will start reading the second book right away. Hopefully it is as god as this one.
Published 1 day ago by A Ghassemi
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Liked it
Published 6 days ago by renee
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting autobiography but LONG!
Loved this first book of the trilogy by Knausgaard. Can't say the same for Book 2, but Book 3 was better. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Ann W. Burrus
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind book. I bought the second ...
One of a kind book. I bought the second book as soon as I finished this one. Incredibly compelling, though as one reads, it's not clear why. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Laurel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Phenomenal and addictive.
Published 11 days ago by sita
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
quite a read!
Published 15 days ago by Marjorie G. Mount
3.0 out of 5 stars It was highly recommended by my grandson
Have not finished reading it yet and may perhaps rate it higher. It was highly recommended by my grandson.
Published 16 days ago by Patricia Schlinke
5.0 out of 5 stars It's true that there isn't a lot of action and ...
It's true that there isn't a lot of action and much of the book focuses on seemingly mundane details and on Knausgaard's interior life. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Andrew
4.0 out of 5 stars "...What you see every day is what you never see..."
I've been obsessed lately with the idea that what is truly important and meaningful is actually hidden in life's tedium. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Mike W.
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Didn't like it much at all
Published 20 days ago by conan doyle
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