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My Struggle, Book Two

(Min kamp #2)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  18,963 ratings  ·  1,506 reviews
Having left his first wife, Karl Ove Knausgaard moves to Stockholm, Sweden, where he leads a solitary existence. He strikes up a deep friendship with another exiled Norwegian, a Nietzschean intellectual and boxing fanatic named Geir. He also tracks down Linda, whom he met at a writers' workshop a few years earlier and who fascinated him deeply.

Book Two is at heart a love s
Hardcover, 1st, 571 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Archipelago (first published October 2009)
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Stella I have just started The Struggle 2, reading in the bus on my way to work and suddenly I read the following line:
"the life around me was not meaningfu…more
I have just started The Struggle 2, reading in the bus on my way to work and suddenly I read the following line:
"the life around me was not meaningful. I always longed to be away from it, and always had done. So the life I led was not my own. I tried to make it mine, this was my struggle, because of course I wanted it, but I failed, the longing for something else undermined all my efforts"
So, in my opinion this is the reason for the title of his books. It is his struggle in order to find the meaning of his own life.

Holly If you are in the US, you can pre-order the English version on Amazon. Due out April 28.

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Glenn Russell
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Oh, Karl Ove, you capture the heart-break of the lovesick, hypersensitive teenager that speaks to our own lost teenage years. And thanks for Book 2, writing of your life during your 20s and 30s, married, raising children, dealing with the whole urban banana. A reader might think very self-centered of a writer to pen 6 thick volumes of his life, but you, Karl Ove, are able to tap into the culture's pulse and our collective modern human experience - reading your books is almost like reading our ow
[from Min kamp 1]

It was now more than two weeks since I had published my review of Min kamp 1, and during that time I had not posted anything new. Every day, I stared at the screen, tried to begin, abandoned my unsuccessful attempt after half an hour. Maybe I would never again manage to produce a meaningful piece of writing. I checked my mail for the third time that afternoon. Someone I didn't know said they thought it was amazing that I could read the books in the original Norwegian. There's no
Lee Klein
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The original Norwegian editions of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume My Struggle series, presented in thick ~500-page installments, have purportedly sold more than a half-million copies and won lots of prizes. If rumors of such critical and commercial success are true, even if only in Scandinavia, it’s good news for humanity, since these volumes lack traditional plot, let alone anything approaching bondage, vampires or wizards. Maybe it helps that Knausgaard, a respected author of two novels befo ...more
Adam Dalva
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece - I think it surpasses vol. 1, although it is less fun and less immediately accessible. If vol. 1 was death and childhood, this is love and aging, and it is perhaps the best depiction of love that I have ever read. Family love, romantic love, courtship.

Fascinating structure: A digression that lasts from p. 20 - p. 527, inside of which is a digression that goes from 70-520, inside of which is one from 105-340, inside of which is one that runs from 125-281. The outermost frame, the
Michael Finocchiaro
Karl Ove Knausgård's second instalment in the sprawling My Struggle autobiographic roman fleuve is even more gripping than its predecessor. Perhaps that is because I am also a father roughly the same age as the author, but I was truly pulled in head-first from the get-go. This book covers a period coming about 3-5 years after the primary events of Book 1 which was about his father's death. Here, he has moved to Stockholm, leaving his soon-to-be ex-wife in Norway and falls in love with Laura whom ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really, really, really loved the first one of these, but I did not love this one. It was at times a... slog to get through. There were some great moments and I'm glad I finished it, because it ended strong, but the majority fell into the risky trap of this project, and read to me like excerpts from a self-absorbed parenting blog detailing what life is like as a successful writer with a family in Sweden (spoiler alert: in the absence of any other worries -- medical bills, say, or the need to do ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Epic Side of Truth, Wisdom"
Feel like my soul has turned into steel / I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal "Not Dark Yet," Bob Dylan, 1997

Prior to reading this, I was skeptical about reading a roman à clef based loosely on the author's life? Could he succeed in depicting a seemingly ordinary life as interesting enough to fill 4/5/6 volumes? Is he the Scandinavian equivalent of the fat-head fiction writers churned out from MFA programs across the nation to dazzle the cognosce
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A Man in Love


"The fact that paintings and, to some extent, photographs were so important for me had something to do with this. They contained no words, no concepts, and when I looked at them what I experienced, what made them so important, was also non conceptual. There was something stupid in this, an area that was completely devoid of intelligence, which I had difficulty acknowledgng or accepting, yet which perhaps was the most important single element of what I wanted to do."

-- Karl Ove Knau
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first impression of Karl Ove Knausgaard came from a black and white photograph published with a review of his book "A Time For Everything" in The New York Review of Books.

He is seen smoking against the rugged Norwegian landscape, hair disheveled, wearing an old, battered tee-shirt, lost in thought. Completely and unabashedly himself, yet ill at ease. Entirely present, feet deeply rooted in the present moment, yet his mind is clearly in flight, flickering at the surface of his gaze.

The strikin
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Book Two of My Struggle makes good on the promise of an ‘epic of the everyday’; toward the end of the book Karl Ove describes his idea of literature as a kind of participation in the gaze of another, how only diaries and essays continue to move him as works of literature because that is where one might come closest to inhabiting another’s gaze on the world, another’s purview onto being. Thus the book he begins to write, thus the book we hold in our hands. For even here among the ascetic, exhaust ...more
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though his style and agenda have nothing in common with Virginia Woolf, Karl Ove Knausgård, too, has an outrageous and uncanny ability to mix the banal and the lofty, the quotidian and the existential without ever upsetting the balance. He deals, in short, with life, and in this process he cuts off all layers of pretension and untruth and reveals the rawness, the failures, the temporary successes and the anxieties of modern life.

In this second installment of Knausgård’s massive opus, he zooms i
What’s the matter with Knausgard?, what game is he playing with us? Part 1 of his series bears the title "Father", and that father certainly is present, but rather as a threatening shadow than as an acting person, and in this Part 2 the title is "A Man in Love", but almost constantly it is about divorces between people and quarrels between Karl Ove and his wife Linda.

Of course, this second part also contains very endearing passages: about falling in love, about the caring relationship between K
Justin Evans
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm torn between taking part in the backlash against the Knausgaard hype--because, let's be honest, there are plenty of authors more deserving of front page attention from every newspaper, magazine and website with 'New York' in the title--and trying to get in early on the revisionism to the backlash, by pointing out that although Knausgaard is not Proust or Woolf, nor is he trying to be, and it's not his fault that every newspaper, magazine and website with 'New York' in the title decided to pu ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How the hell does Karl Ove (I feel as though we are best friends now) pull this off? No way should he be managing this. I loved the first magnum, despite the downward spiral of a dying alcoholic father, and now I'm giving highest marks to the follow-up opus as well. Four more books are promised to come. I don't doubt it. The man can go on and on and on to the point where detractors might equate his diary-like approach to a diarrhea-like one (only with words, thank you).

I like Book Two despite t
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wandered beneath the sun-dappled shade from the trees, surrounded by the warm fragrances of the forest, thinking that I was in the middle of my life. Not life as an age, not halfway along life’s path, but in the middle of my existence. My heart trembled.

Rather late in this volume, Karl Ove reflects on ascribing a utility to literature especially fiction. He confesses a desire to read only essays and diaries at the moment. [all the verbs and gerunds need to be qualified in this endeavor (My Str
[continued from here]

At 8%, and once again I'm eating an apple. Coincidence!? An apple a day keeps the doctor away; they say. Karl Ove and his family are eating apples too. On a family trip to an amusement-park. The muse is long gone; the park peeled off and ugly, but the kids don't notice. The first food mentioned in a novel has to mean something, right? A symbol ... maybe? Apples are secretly driving our fate. The tree of knowledge, the forbidden fruit, the apple falling on Newton's head, and
Stephen P(who no longer can participate due to illness)

A man with no roots. The narrator wherever he has been has not belonged. This includes his interior as well as the exterior world. No wonder, as a writer, his only interest is to locate and express the truth.The truth is difficult he sees. External reality is endowed with meaning but only through his eyes. Otherwise it remains as objects of mass and outline.

However, his vision cauterized by the split between his shamed self (hints of his being abused) fostered by an unending castigation
Ben Winch
Four Responses:

Dec 14th 2014

I’m on the second My Struggle book and believe it – and its predecessor – to be a failure, at least as it relates to me. Is that arrogant? Should it be: I’m a failure, at least as I relate to My Struggle? The plain fact: I’ve been skipping pages, have been since the start. Skipping phrases and sentences too, skimming to reach the parts that say whatever it is I like to hear Knausgaard say. Not only skipping forward either, but jumping around the way I do with rock bio
Some of the magic of the first book was lost with this one. Here, there is no mystery, nothing hidden, no slow reveal, no surprises. There is far more preoccupation with mundane occurrences (especially in the first half), and less of an attempt to generalise or elevate. A Man in Love is more transparent than A Death in the Family; less affected, which works both in its favour and against. It is also far less emotionally charged. We get more of a impression of Knausgård as a person, and the hones ...more
I can't stop reading-I bought the next volume as soon as I got ten pages near the end. Long passages of excruciating detail of mundane events (such as making a cup of tea, taking little children out to school, marital arguments over chores) suddenly lit by poetry. Uneasy feelings in social situations, readings in (to me) exotic locales, the light of memory that fades with time-and the lights that don't. Ruminations on art, modernism, poetry, literature, and the meaning (if there is one) of life. ...more
Emmanuel Kostakis
Nov 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
5* solid stars. Trying to collect my thoughts about this novel, the first thing it comes to mind is painter Anselm Kiefer: per Knausgaard “ Anselm Kiefer has always been such a name for me — more so than any other artist of our time, perhaps — because his works are so monumental, so charged with time, so burdened by history, and because the private sphere, the near and the personal, is so completely absent from them.”
The struggle resumes with love and fam
M. Sarki

As I was nearing the end of Volume II I actually felt a bit silly and embarrassed as I looked forward to reading my customary turtle-paced six pages each morning. I used the book as part of my daily meditation as I knew there was no way I could read it like I do novels in which I am interested in and cannot help myself in finishing more than too fast. And as hard as it was for me to trudge through the almost endless Knausgård rhetoric involving changing di
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are almost finished with Volume Two of Knausgaard’s six-volume memoir before we learn what Knausgaard is about with this huge, unwieldy thing he calls a novel.
"Over recent year I had increasingly lost faith in literature…Fictional writing has no value, documentary narrative has no value. The only genres I saw value in, which still conferred meaning, were diaries and essays, the types of literature did not deal with narrative, that were not about anything, but just consisted of a voice, the v
Caterina (on hiatus)
Maybe because it deals with the sweetness and struggles of love and marriage, I found My Struggle, Book Two: A Man in Love even more compelling -- and enjoyable -- than Book One: A Death in the Family. Together, they are a breathtakingly honest, intimate portrayal of the ordinary lived experience and interior life of someone who ruminates about everything -- a self-absorption that somehow transcends self. We read to get out of the self, Karl Ove claims, and that rings true to me - so there's som ...more
“And it is never easy to confront life-changing news, especially when you are deeply embroiled in the everyday and the banal, which we always are. They absorb almost everything, make almost everything small, apart from the few events that are so immense they lay waste to all the everyday trivia around you. Big news is like that and it is not possible to live inside it.”

The second volume of Knausgård’s autobiographical epic, My Struggle, is a stirring and scorching unfurling of (perhaps, also a p
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bokm-l, 2012
Great writing by a great author with a great voice, yet not the great literature Knausgård is capable of producing. I heard an interview with Knausgård on Leonard Lopate which I think explains it all. He reported that he wrote and never looked back. He has not even read what he has written. I did notice that he is quite wordy in this volume, there is no economy of ideas and reflections, a certain lack of editing is apparent, not to mention that one very annoying spelling mistake. But honestly I ...more
Leo Robertson
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Just read it.

Some disjointed thoughts and thrown-in quotes below— I was going to write, ‘In case you need convincing’, but why would you listen to me? Don’t you have friends? You don’t have friends who read? Ouch! Then don’t read this: you have to go get some friends who read ffs. For the good of your immortal soul! Or something that exists!

Knausgaard is no hero. He paints no mawkish and sentimental view of life as it is really experienced. He’s just a cantankerous everyman. Maybe the everiest t
Brendan Monroe
After turning the final page of Knausgaard’s "A Man In Love", the second in his unspeakably brilliant “My Struggle” series, I couldn't get up from the couch. I had, instead, to reflect over what I had just read and how brilliant it all was. I'm writing this now only because I'm positively bursting to talk about how great Knausgaard's book is.

But how? How can a book be so great when there is no plot or story to convey? No real action or events of note?

I'd heard it said about "A Death In The Fam
In chronological terms, Book 2 deals with Karl Ove's falling in love, becoming a father, dealing with fame, and searching for a new writing project. It is hard to crystallize the appeal of this book and yet it is magnetic--for me, it's as if Knausgaard pulls you into his life. And because his life is very much about the search for happiness and self-acceptance, you feel that it is your life, as well. There's a certain futility to it all because you know that humans are not wired for this type of ...more
Aug 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars cuz Knausgaard’s writing hasn’t declined at all in quality from Book 1 to 2 -
……but just know that my internalized misogyny levels have flown OFF THE FUCKING CHARTS after reading 600 pages that do such a painstakingly competent job in the subject portrayal of “Book 2: A Man In Love”: a mind-numbingly narcissistic, needy, consciously desperate and superciliously liberal (or, as Knausgaard puts it, “Swedish”) cunt, with all the symptomatized trimmings and anxieties that come along with the
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Nominated to the 2004 Nordic Council’s Literature Prize & awarded the 2004 Norwegian Critics’ Prize.

Karl Ove Knausgård (b. 1968) made his literary debut in 1998 with the widely acclaimed novel Out of the World, which was a great critical and commercial success and won him, as the first debut novel ever, The Norwegian Critics' Prize. He then went on to write six autobiographical novels, titled My S

Other books in the series

Min kamp (6 books)
  • Min kamp 1 (Min kamp #1)
  • Min kamp 3 (Min kamp #3)
  • Min kamp 4 (Min kamp #4)
  • Min kamp 5 (Min kamp #5)
  • Min kamp 6 (Min kamp #6)

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“All my adult life I have kept a distance from other people, it has been my way of coping, because I become so incredibly close to others in my thoughts and feelings of course, they only have to look away dismissively for a storm to break inside me.” 82 likes
“I feel almost physically ill in the presence of boring people who consider themselves especially interesting and who blow their own trumpets.” 45 likes
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