Oh the detail! And in that detail the book sometimes becomes a little boring, but also is what makes it so compelling. This book is the first of six vOh the detail! And in that detail the book sometimes becomes a little boring, but also is what makes it so compelling. This book is the first of six volumes that is autobiographical in nature, but also labelled fiction. So the line between truth and not truth is slightly blurred, but that doesn’t seem to matter. In those details is likely where the fiction resides and the larger overarching story line of Knausgaard’s life is autobiographical. Really how much finite detail can one remember, particularly when going back decades? The exact conversation, the particular clothes, the minute and ever changing feelings? Yet it is those precise details that makes this writing engaging, that feels so authentic and honest. Compelled by this honesty you want to know what happens to this character, this author. The details are not just of what happened, although there is quite a lot of that, but also Karl Ove’s thoughts, feelings, musings. It’s actually very interesting. I saw myself there. I think everyone who reads this sees their self, which is why this book (no, books) has been such a phenomenon.
And so after already a large book I’m ready to engage in book two, which is longer and perhaps yes, take on all six volumes. I imagine at the end either being smothered by all of the detail or still clamoring for more. My best guess – the later.
One example: “I got into the car, strapped myself in. Yngve plumped down in the seat beside me, inserted the key in the ignition, twisted it, craned his head and began to reverse down the little slope. Grandma was standing on the top step. I waved to her, she waved back. As we reversed into the alley and could no longer see her I wondered if she was still waiting, as she had always done, because when we moved forward again we could see each other for a last time and wave a final goodbye, then she would turn to go in and we would enter the road.
She was still there. I waved, she waived, and then she went in.” pg. 406
I don't have a good reason for reading this book. Pretty cover? I got it for free? Well, I get lots of books for free at the library and don't read evI don't have a good reason for reading this book. Pretty cover? I got it for free? Well, I get lots of books for free at the library and don't read every single one that I take home. I guess I finished reading it because it was a light, quick read.
The book overall is deplorable. The main character had no self-awareness, even when she claimed she did. No, not even in the end did she really know herself, despite her claim. Her reasoning was only a cop-out for her horrible uncontrolled behavior. About half-way through she claims to want to change, but she makes absolutely no effort at figuring out what that might mean.
What this book is about is female sexuality, that it's okay for women to like sex. Okay, that I could get behind and support. But the author also seems to say that women can act like the worst men out there, have absolutely no control, and have intercourse with any man that says yes, even if she's trying to have a committed relationship. No, that is not okay. We have brains. We can control our impulses, behavior, it's called delayed gratification. The author writes a female character that supposedly has brains, but actually never acts like it at all. Never.
There's a lot wrong here in this book and almost nothing right. And really I didn't use my brain well and spent time with this book. Use your brain and just say no. My only consolation is that it was a very quick read, not many hours, and I'll probably end up forgetting this one in just no time at all....more