My Struggle, Karl Ove Knausgaard

my struggleI just finished My Struggle, the first volume of six.  The entire series consists of 3600 pages.  It is a commitment and one I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy but I decided I would start with one and see what happened.  Considering the book is available in 22 languages plus some and has been read by one of every nine adults in Norway there must be a reason for it.

The book is incredibly powerful and raw.  It is like reading the mind of someone and their most intimate thoughts and secrets.  The title of the book is interesting considering that Mein Kampf was the title for Hitlers book.  Regardless it is an autobiographical book of Karl Ove’s personal struggle.  The reader gets an inside view of his personal relationships that start as a young boy into adulthood and the passing of his alcoholic father.   I also got a better understanding of what it is like to grow up in that part of the world from the way people interact with each other to the extreme weather.

I have never read anything else quite like it.  I plan on reading the other five books.  From everything that I have read about the author the book has certainly taken a toll on his personal life.  He leaves nothing on the table sharing every intimate detail of his life.  The descriptions are so vivid that you take his tales and insert them in your own head.

Pulitzer?  I would think so.

Comments (Archived):

  1. AG

    You’ve convinced me to jump in on this.What are your thoughts on his responsibility to family member’s or ex wives whose lives he exposes?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Great question. I guess it goes under the title that nothing is secret. It is certainly more about his thoughts of how each relationship affected him but it is quite honest and from what I have read certainly family members are not so happy about it.

  2. JLM

    .Funny, I have this book — not as a great read but as an example of a memoir from a very, very young man — as a literary work.I wondered what a 40-year old might have to share with the world. Had he lived a big enough life to really have something to say? It is after all, a memoir and written originally in Norwegian.The depth he goes into about certain things makes it a book written by a voyeur. I am not compelled by the story, I am compelled by the depth of writing.Like dissecting a frog. Do I really want to see those guts?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Gotham Gal

      i kinda like the guts.

      1. JLM

        .Not to put you on the couch but you have said on occasion how much you dread the “what are your babies up to now” cocktail chatter and prefer to know what has someone done recently that is a bit deeper, more insightful or revealing.I always ask people “what has outraged you” or “what has scared the crap out of you”? I like those conversations more. My wife accuses me of being a Labrador in my conversations because of my energy and interest.I am headed tonight to a Viet Nam Veterans benefit bourbon tasting — Garrison Brothers from Hye, Texas, a deal in which I have an interest — and am seated next to a very successful woman whose family owned a department chain. She was on the Dallas Fed Board for years.We see each other about every 5 years and we have the most interesting conversations. Truth be known, I am really going to chat with her not taste bourbon. Though I intend to play along.I love learning about the fabric of life and the inner workings of lives. It is the most interesting and insightful thing in the world.As an example, I am fascinated that Barack Obama was raised in a Muslim country in his formative years. Not to imply that is either good or bad but knowing how I was raised and where in those same years I know how much they have colored and marked — imprisoned perhaps — my development and thinking. I think this is one of the big missed stories of his life.So, yes I like the guts. Not all but the interesting ones.JLM.