Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
My Struggle: Book 1 Paperback – May 28, 2013
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Powerfully alive . . . Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties . . . He wants us to inhabit the ordinariness of life, which is sometimes visionary, sometimes banal, and sometimes momentous, but all of it perforce ordinary because it happens in the course of a life, and happens, in different forms, to everyone . . . There is something ceaselessly compelling about Knausgaard's book.” ―James Wood, The New Yorker (selected as one of the Books of the Year)
“A fantastic novel . . . I cannot say anything other than that I am looking forward desperately to the rest of it.” ―Dagsavisen (Norway)
“Knausgaard's thinking is magnificently unbridled.” ―Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (germany)
“Between Proust and the woods . . . Like granite, precise and forceful. More real than reality.” ―La Repubblica (Italy)
“I can't stop, I want to stop, I can't stop, just one more page, then I will cook dinner, just one more page . . .” ―Västerbottens-kuriren (Sweden)
About the Author
Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. My Struggle has won countless international literary awards and has been translated into more than fifteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and three children.
Don Bartlett has translated dozens of books of various genres, including several novels and short story collections by Jo Nesbø and It's Fine by Me by Per Petterson. He lives in Norfolk, England.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
It begins with a beautiful, deeply philosophical (yet entirely unemotional) musing on the nature of death. Then, the bulk of the book is dedicated to the mundane micro-details of Knausgaard’s childhood and family life—including 100 or so pages about a New Years Eve party he attended when he was a teenager. Diversions lead to other diversions, to the point where I skimmed full pages at a time, eager to get back to the good stuff.
Finally, it all comes full circle in the final third: his father has died, and this book is Knausgaard’s attempt to cope with it. Suddenly, as Death becomes personal for him (no longer abstract as it was in the beginning) the mundane descriptions all start to make sense within the larger context of the book: they allow Knausgaard to apply that same detailed scrutiny to his father’s death, and in doing so, reduce it to a similar level of banality.
It’s a frustrating read in its unevenness. There are passages of sheer beauty, depth and intimacy alongside boring recollections of past events. This is purposeful, but that doesn’t necessarily make it less frustrating as a reader.
It’s certainly one of those books whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I feel satisfied and fulfilled upon completing it, yet there were times in the middle when I was tempted to bail.
Will I read the next one? My answer is a begrudging yes. Knausgaard has a hold on me now, whether I like it or not.
The writing is good, clever at times. Knausgaard can no doubt throw a yarn. The voice is honest - with the caveat that it is a first person narrative - and vulnerable at times. He's going to invite criticism: from people whose private moments are laid bare, from readers that have invested so much time and feel cheated, from readers that think his life is trivial, his problems typical, and his achievements modest. There is a fluidity to his writing that dupes the reader into persevering. Had there been technical halts in the writing, discontinuities (e.g. numerous chapters), visual hiccups (e.g. footnotes a la DFW), and other assorted non-linearity, I believe the growth in popularity would have stunted. The title was also a brilliant marketing tool. It forces a self-deprecating writing style lest the author is perceived as pompous. My Struggle isn't some auto-hagiography. Knausgaard avoids this with his honesty and introspection albeit as days turn into weeks turn into months.
In Information Theory there are ideas related to compression, complexity, and entropy that in simple terms say that the amount of order contained in something determines how much you can reduce it into something smaller and simpler. So, for instance, the simplest representation of a perfectly random string of characters may be the string itself. Conversely another string of the same length with non-random repeating elements may be able to be represented as a fraction of the length while preserving all of the original information. My feeling with the 3600 pages of My Struggle is that if we stuffed it into a black hole and let it try to chomp all the bits of information down until it was pure information we'd still be left with 3600 pages. However, if we tried the same experiment on the ideas contained in the novel we'd be left with a page. This is a microcosm of what the NSA must deal with everyday: the curse of dimensionality. Wanton context free information. The human brain has evolved over the millennia to parse and weed out information that isn't germane to survival. Writing has the difficult task of adding some of this mundane information back in to create plausible, colorful, dense, and engaging stories. Some writers are masters at talking about the color of a plant (cf Nabokov). When the sink is thrown in it might as well be what is sometimes called "f-you literature". Franzen's first rule is "The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator." Pynchon and Joyce can get away with throwing ciphers at the reader, making them feel stupid. In a similar way Knausgaard achieves the same alienation of the reader but via a totally different method: tedium.