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My Struggle: Book Four

(Min kamp #4)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  10,078 ratings  ·  731 reviews
At eighteen years, old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fisherman's village in the far north of the arctic circle to work as a school teacher. No interest in the job itself, his intention is to save up enough money to travel while finding the space and time to start his writing career. Initially everything looks fine. He writes his first few short stories, finds himself accepted b ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 485 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Archipelago (first published February 24th 2010)
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 ·  10,078 ratings  ·  731 reviews

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Kevin Kelsey
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017, favorites
Posted at Heradas Review

“...he would have to work out the social game for himself. He would have to learn he would get nowhere by whining or telling tales.”

Karl Ove isn’t talking about himself in this quote, but he might as well be. Eighteen year old Karl Ove spends most of the book whining about his inability to lose his virginity, and attempting to write short fiction (telling tales). You might think I’m joking, but I think the moral of this story is that people should masturbate more ofte
Michael Finocchiaro
My Struggle 4 was an outstanding read. We follow KOK during his teenage years following gymnas (presumably highschool in Norway) when he lives on his own for the first time. I loved how he described this feeling, which I feel like I shared the first time I had my own place (albeit under very different circumstances):
"But here! I thought, lifting a slice of bread to my mouth while looking out the window. The reflection of the mountains across the fjord was broken kaleidoscopically by the ripples
[from Min kamp 3]

Knausgård is such a crafty bastard. I can't find the heart to parody him again after the episode where his colleague adds an extra paragraph to the story his eighteen year old self is in the middle of writing:
I det samme jeg la øyene på papiret som stod i skrivmaskinen, så jeg at noen hade skrevet på det. Jeg blev helt kald. Den første halve siden var min, og så kom det fem linjer som ikke var mine. Jeg leste dem.

"Gabriel stakk fingrerne langt inne i den våte fitte. Å herregu
Adam Dalva
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, almost entirely self-sufficient segment of My Struggle. It follows a very similar structure to the great book 2 (embedded 200 page flashback in a brief hiatus of direct narrative), but what 4 relatively lacks in emotional depth, it makes up for with verve and excitement. The subject is clearly, for lack of a better word, lust: it tracks ages 16-18 through a frustratingly wonderful narrative of drinking and sexual failure. Knausgaard works as a high school teacher, unable to to do ...more
Lee Klein
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
One day in the distant future, whenever we think about Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume My Struggle series, memories of an era between 2012 through 2017 will come rushing back.

My Struggle: Book One (2012) involved a teenage search for alcohol on New Year’s Eve followed by the alcoholic death of the author’s father some ten years later. My Struggle: Book Two: A Man in Love (2013)—the best one by far for me; the volume responsible for the author’s reputation—covered falling in love, fatherhood, th
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
Press Release for Immediate Publication, May 29, 2017
From: CUPID (Committee for Understanding Priapism In Development)
Subject: 2017 CHUB Award Goes to Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard

CUPID, the international Committee for Understanding Priapism In Development, is much pleased to announced our 2017 CHUB Award winner, Karl Ove Knausgaard, for his contributions to a better public understanding of the Chronic Hell of Uncontrollable Bulges that all men suffer in their formative years ("CHUB"
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book Four of My Struggle presents to us an eighteen-year-old Karl Ove Knausgaard, a Hamsun-esque anti-hero, a version perhaps (o dear reader, permit me my lazy analogies! I have so little in this life!) of the unnamed vagrant that staggers the streets of Kristiania in Hunger, with a similarly loosely-woven and easily-breached code of chivalry, regiment of a derangement of the senses, of shame, self-abnegation, self-flagellation, loosely (again) bound up with self-aggrandizement, self-confidence ...more

[continued from here]

At 12%. I started this, the fourth part of Karl Ove Knausgård’s struggle, three days late. The only strict reading plan I had and it whooshed right past me. So far for making plans. Karl Ove has finished school. It’s the summer after he turned eighteen–1987–, and his plan is to go up North to a small town and become a substitute teacher for a year. This reminds me of another book I read last year by another Norwegian author, Agnar Mykle, whose book Lasso rundt fru Luna deals
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
My Struggle, Book 4, AKA:


Dancing in the Dark
Drunk with Ideas of a Young Girl
Premature Explication
Drunk, Cold and Unsatisfied in the North


"But there was something about the darkness. There was something about this small, enclosed place. There was something about seeing the same faces every day. My class. My colleagues. The assistant at the shop. The occasional mother, the occasional father. Now and then the young fishermen. But always the same people, always the same atmosphere. The sno
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Book 4 is also the airiest book in the ­series. The pages are rarely dense with text. The essayistic passages that elevate the earlier volumes, bold in their old-­fashioned European profundity and full of keen, original, brilliantly associative thinking, are nowhere to be found. Everything here is dramatized, scene after scene, compellingly so but without the gravitas of the earlier books and suggestive of a lighter, more carefree period in Knausgaard’s life.

The reason these books feel so much
Mike W
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
My initial reaction is to rate it 3 stars but I'm having a hard time actually rationalizing that score. The series as a whole is actually quite difficult to explain to the uninitiated, it usually elicits an increasingly blank stare as I drone on about its merits. But those I've convinced to begin it have all been caught up in its energy.

I would guess that for many, especially women, this fourth book is the least favorite in the series. It mainly consists of the sexual angsts and alcoholic binge
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
If my memories were stacked in a heap on the back of my life’s trailer, music was the rope that held them together and kept it, my life, in position.

Just as Brother Townes said, all you keep is the getting there. Heidegger was less than bemused by this preoccupation with the getting-there. Van Zandt is referenced per the musical orientation of the citation. I find myself disagreeing with Knausgård but recognize I am pondering his teenage self filtered nearly thirty years into the future. This th
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My friend M Sarki (read his work, and find him on here; he’s worth your time and an exceptional human to boot) summed up KOK’s writing far better than I in one of his reviews for this cycle. While I paraphrase, his attribution of ‘sophisticated simplicity’ is right on the money. No more so than here, Book Four.

I would add that Karl Ove writes with a lilt of smoothness rarer than hen’s teeth, something that is disguised by the sheer forward momentum of his storytelling. Further: he earns his ren
In this installment of his six-volume fiction, Knausgaard is eighteen years old. He relates his first year teaching lower secondary school in Håfjord, a small town by the sea in far north Norway. This is his first full-time paid employment outside of a month’s summertime stint at a nursing home. The excitement of being on his own to earn money, to write, to be all he can be is palpable in the beginning. Only a few short months into the teaching gig he calls his mother: he wants to quit. Ah, call ...more
Justin Evans
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I kept a very close eye on myself as I read this, and worked out why I keep reading: it's just readable. KOK writes ideal airplane literature for those of us who think we're too good for airplane literature. You don't have to keep track of anything, the pages turn, not because you have to keep going, but because it's all so digestible that there's no reason to stop turning them. He captures exactly what it's like to be an 18 year old boy (unpleasant), and throws in a few slightly intellectual pa ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is volume 4 of Karl Ove Knauusgaard’s monumental work, My Struggle. I have loved all the books and read them almost as obsessively as they seem to have been written and this one is my favorite so far (although I was especially impressed by the first volume as well).
The long seemingly minute by minute accountings of Karl Ove’s life as an 18 year who has taken a job as a teacher in northern Norway. The book is the most comic of the books so far, punctuated by beautiful lyrical passages. The a
Katia N
Nov 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Total slog this one. Something of limited interest at the first 20 pages and the last 40. Everything in between is the repetition of the previous 3 books in different order. I loved the first two, especially the second one. But I would not survive another one like Book 4. If he is not upping his game in the book 5, I would probably need to put his aside. But I hope it is not the case.
“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Jerk” --4.5/5

In Book Four, Karl Ove Knausgaard offers up his fictionalized late-teen self stumbling into semi-adulthood. This is by far the funniest installment in the My Struggle series so far; though not as good as Book Two, the writing is more fluent and gentler, with more dramatic irony. Young KOK is ambitious — about writing, and about living and thinking in ways that question and push beyond the norms — including extreme drinking, and the mysteries of lov
I wrestled through the first three parts of the ‘My Struggle’ series by Knausgard with a lot of difficulty, asking myself every time where he was heading for. Especially the first and the second part were such a mixture of introspection and description, constantly jumping through time and space, and associating trivial scenes with almost brilliant reflections, that I did not know what to think of this writer. The third part was a chronologically told story from his childhood to his teenage years ...more
In this fourth instalment of his literary struggle, Karl Ove Knausgård continues his backward quest to describe and come to terms with his growing up. The book begins and ends with his going to northern Norway for a year as a substitute teacher, though he is only 18 and fresh out of high school. He paints a vivid portrait of life in small-town Norway in a village of only some 250 houses and so far north that the school he teaches at changes teachers almost every year because no new people move t ...more
The healthy way to look at one's teenage angst is with a big laugh, if not, you are not far away from adolescence yet (or you have another stuck-up). This is the way Knausgård ends his book, with the big laugh of the adult reminiscing over what with adolescent limited tunnel view seemed the most important things in the world. It's not a ridicule laugh, it's a sympathetic one. But I literally said out loud, once reaching the final sentence, "you really ended the book this way??? really????" and I ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
I'm disappointed with this volume and missed the brilliance of the earlier volumes in books 3 and 4, but it is not possible for me to stop now. I need to see where this will end and am hoping the voice of the adult KOK is back in book 5. The 550 pages of this book were full of an 18 year old's drinking binges and his longing for sex, which could have been summarized in a few paragraphs. ...more
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
A self-absorb story about self absorption.
Apr 09, 2015 rated it liked it
If I could 3.5 this one, I would. It's really more of the same so it went down easily, but #4 seemed to contain fewer beautiful asides. They're there, just with less frequency than some of the earlier versions.

In truth, I thought this would be a favorite, as it covers Karl Ove at age 18 when he decided to teach for one year in a provincial town of Northern Norway. As a rule, I like coming of age themes, but in this case it's overkill. Karl Ove spends the vast majority of this book trying to los
Bob Peru
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love these books. and i can't really articulate why. the author is a guy who cries and drinks and smokes and (in this volume) lusts after high school girls.

i read his books in big chunks. a hundred or so pages at a time.

i predict knausgaard wins the nobel prize some day.
May 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What kind of trash did I just read lmao the entire book is him trying to get off and it's really boring after the first like 4 times ok? Nobody cares. Cleaning your dead dad's house for 200 pages was more interesting than these 600 pages of garbage. Wow. ...more
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bokm-l, 2014
I had promised myself to stay on a Knausgård diet and only read one book a year. Book 3 however wrenched my gut and heart to the extent where I felt I had to know how the author would fare in the adult world.

This 4th volume is a coming-of-age novel in its own right, with limited retrospection and a lot of new adventures; a new and magnificent landscape, girls of a greater variety of shapes and ages, a new job as a teacher without qualifications, an outspoken determination to become a writer, re
A lovely book, I liked this almost as much as vol 2. And as I like sex more than childhood — or, at least, as I prefer *reading* about sex to reading about childhood— this was far more interesting. Descriptions of the arctic village where he taught and of its inhabitants was both tender and always interesting.
Paul Fulcher
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Book 4 of Knausgaard's My Struggle and much of what I have to say has been said before both my me in my previous reviews ( and many, many others. Much as I enjoy Knausgaard the press coverage, relative to that the many other worthy works of translated fiction, is somewhat disproportionate.

Book 4 follows the, by now, familiar format - ostensibly autobiography but reconstructed at such a level of detail that it constitutes fiction, and, the old present-da
Jeff Bursey
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A review to come. For now, I'll say this is another self-lacerating portrait of the (mostly) 18-year-old Knausgaard as he teaches in a school set in a village in northern Norway. Father and Mother are alive; there are underage attractive girls around; and lots of liquor that brings on blackouts. Some fine set pieces of nature, and of introspection. ...more
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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 2 (Min kamp #2)
  • Min kamp 3 (Min kamp #3)
  • Min kamp 5 (Min kamp #5)
  • Min kamp 6 (Min kamp #6)

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“The music was linked with almost everything I had done, none of the records came without a memory. Everything that had happened in the last five years rose like steam from a cup when I played a record, not in the form of thoughts or reasoning, but as moods, openings, space. Some general, others specific. If my memories were stacked in a heap on the back of my life’s trailer, music was the rope that held them together and kept it, my life, in position.” 10 likes
“Oh, this is the song about the young man who loves a young woman. Has he the right to use such a word as “love”? He knows nothing about life, he knows nothing about her, he knows nothing about himself. All he knows is that he has never felt anything with such force and clarity before. Everything hurts, but nothing is as good. Oh, this is the song about being sixteen years old and sitting on a bus and thinking about her, the one, not knowing that feelings will slowly, slowly, weaken and fade, that life, that which is now so vast and so all-embracing, will inexorably dwindle and shrink until it is a manageable entity that doesn’t hurt so much, but nor is it as good.” 7 likes
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