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My Struggle: Book Five

(Min kamp #5)

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  6,510 ratings  ·  524 reviews
The fifth book of Knausgaard's powerful My Struggle series is written with tremendous force and sincerity. As a nineteen-year-old, Karl Ove moves to Bergen and invests all of himself in his writing. But his efforts get the opposite effect - he wants it so much that he gets writer's block. At the same time, he sees his friends, one-by-one, publish their debuts. He suspects ...more
Hardcover, 626 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Archipelago Books (first published June 15th 2010)
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Kevin Kelsey
Posted at Heradas Review

“What was consciousness other than the surface of the soul’s ocean?”

Book five details Karl Ove’s life from around age nineteen to thirty-three, but in a lot of ways it feels like the closing chapter of My Struggle. Of course there is still one more book coming in the pipeline; whose english translation I hear has been delayed again, this time until “Fall 2018” due to it being twelve-hundred pages and requiring an additional translator in order to handle the extra page lo
Lee Klein
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You’ve heard about Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume My Struggle series. If you've been avoiding the annual hype since 2012 but now for some weird reason think you're maybe KOK curious, these reviews of Books One, Two, Three, and Four will get you up to speed.

OK. Now that you're all caught up: Book Five begins soon after Book Four ends, with a nineteen-year-old Karl Ove triumphantly copulating in a tent. He’s returning from travels, preparing to attend a writing academy in Bergen. He’s been in t
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Well, if you've got this far...
[from Min kamp 4]

Looking at the other reviews here of volume 5, I see a good deal about the plot and some interesting notes on connections with Knausgård's real life. What's striking, given that the book is being sold as a novel, is how little people say about its qualities as a piece of literature. I am grateful to Björn, who pointed me to this interesting article by Jan Kjærstad. Kjærstad is uniquely well qualified to comment; he is one of the two or three greatest living Norwegian authors, kn
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
"...the silence of the living is quite different from the silence of the dead"
- Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book 5


Book 5: Some Rain Must Fall

First, just a quick observation. I'm a little perplexed by the photo on the cover of the Archipelago English edition. Isn't that Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty? Wait. I've been there. How does a giant earthwork, counterclockwise coil shooting into the Great Salt Lake fit into this novel? Beautiful, certainly, but odd.

Ok, back to the novel. Back to K
Adam Dalva
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really, really excellent, and in many ways closes the circle of narrative, resolving threads that K.O. was setting up as early as book 1 and covering a huge amount of temporal ground (ages 19-32, roughly). It most resembles book 4, in that it's relatively linear and contained by place instead of thematic, but it adds on a meta-literature element that made it particularly pleasurable. The scenes in the MFA program are fascinating, should be eerily familiar to anyone who has ever taken a workshop. ...more
Elyse  Walters
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"My Struggle: Book 5"..... is my first introduction to Karl Ove Knausgaard

In the beginning of this book, we follow along while Karl Ove is traveling.
From Bergen, Norway...he hitch hiked to Florence - to Athens-( met some Norwegian girls... and one very particular girl that he thinks he is madly in love with)...with hopes to meet her again when he gets back to Norway.
Before he makes it back to Bergen....the big University town where he has been accepted at the Writing Academy---with the last of
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Perry

Karl Ove Knausgaard - a painfully open book

I had never heard of Knausgaard, a Norwegian author, best known for his 6-volume autobiography My Struggle. When it was recommended to me I was a little curious as to whether listening (I experienced this via audio format) to 21.5 hours about this guy was going to be worthwhile.

After I was assured that it doesn't matter which book you read first, I set my need for reading 'in order' aside and started with this one, number 5. We begin when Karl Ove i
Michael Finocchiaro
Volume 5 of Knausgård's My Struggle takes place as he is attempting to become an adult while living for fourteen years in Bergen, Sweden. It is, as all the other books, fast-paced and chock-full of descriptive language and pitiless self-observation. It is an absolutely remarkable book. During this series, the first two books were gripping, then there was a bit of a lull for book 3, but from book 4 onwards, it was such an enormous pleasure to read.

Karl Ove is now in Bergen and his sense of observ
Oh Knausgård, this is, in my opinion the best part in your "My Struggle" series. A very strong five stars to this one.
How I loved it.

I want to, as always, write that it doesn't matter in which order you read the books in this series. They are made to be read independently from each other, the books are not in chronological order but by different parts of Karl Ove's life, and different overarching themes.
I read them out of order, started with part one and read until part four, then six and jumped
[continued from here]

At 12%. Karl Ove Knausgård. Here we go again! I started the fifth book right on schedule this time, but had to pay almost the same price for the Kindle version as for the hardcover. With my luck the paperback will come out any day now, and the price for the Kindle will drop too. Aargh! Or better Ååååååååå! (to paraphrase from Manny’s review)
The letter Å, by the way, is pronounced similar to aw in the English “law” and caused some trouble one time: Members of my family live
"What's genuine in the book is that I try to understand who I am." In a recent interview, Karl Ove Knausgård said he wrote Book 5 of his My Struggle series in just eight weeks, which is particularly impressive considering the depth of his 626-page autobiographical novel. Knausgård has a rare talent for finding the sublime in the mundane, and when measured by qualities like honesty, authenticity, and transparency, Book 5 is Knausgård at his unfiltered best. Highly recommended, especially for anyo ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The heavens were inexhaustible, it had rained every day since the beginning of September and except for a couple of hours I hadn’t seen the sun for what would soon be eight months.

Today was Norwegian in that respect. Yesterday was drizzle but today was rain. Our house was full of jet lagged family and I found myself reading 400 pages. Punctuating my reading of this volume was a series of correspondence with people I went to Uni some 27 years ago. Mnemonic specificity over such a time shocks me.
Reading this series still remains quite a struggle, this very detailed autobiographical portrait that the Norwegian writer Knausgard presents of himself in the “My Struggle”-series. In this fifth part he focuses on his long stay in the Norwegian city of Bergen, between his 19th and 27th birthday. Once again, he presents a succession of ordinary daily actions, worries about his image with other people, dark introspections, night-long drunken scenes, pitiful gagging with women, and constantly inte ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The world is... the natural setting of, and field for, all my thoughts and all my explicit perceptions. Truth does not inhabit only the inner man, or more accurately, there is no inner man, man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself. ”
― Maurice Merleau-Ponty

(This quote will have to serve as a review for now. I'll probably write more later. If you want a thorough write-up of the book, go read Lee's fantastic review.)
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
"Who was your father to you, Karl Ove?" he said.

I didn't like his attempt to gain intimacy with the use of my name, yet I longed to succumb. It was a terrible technique he had, I know that of course, because he didn't know me from Adam, I met his gaze though, and in it I saw he was not an idiot, not a redeemed ignoramus, I saw warmth and understanding. He was no stranger to people drinking themselves to death, I recognized that, nor was he a stranger to people being bad, and he was no stranger t
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: knausgård
There’s so much to cover I don’t know where to begin. As I’m launching into the last book, I do believe I’ll just save it all for there. However, the last 50+ pages’ closure on Book One was everything one could want and more. It was a genuinely emotional experience for me. I don’t know—this is either your kind of thing or it isn’t. My connection to it is almost painfully personal. So there’s that.

Stephen P
A complex man spoken in such simple, open sentences, paragraphs. Yet unable to commit himself to anything or anyone in life, therefore unable to form a life. There was no self inside, only a vicious facsimile of his father and his emotional tortures; a man he could and would never be able to win with. Much of his time was spent humiliating himself internally and externally, and fearing it. Getting drunk allowed all he repressed out.

The ongoing ache and repetitive groan wore thin. The writing wit
May 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: literature
ah, karl ove. i wanted to like you. you come from a long, amazing tradition of scandinavian authors, the ones i stayed up all night to read in college - sigrid undset, knut hamsun, kjartan flogstad, william heinesen, tarje vesaas, strindberg, halldor laxness, selma lagerlof...

but i then i remembered you are a product of our times, of our 21st century incessant social media belly-gazing, of our reality shows, of our mass existential crisis turned public.

i liked your first book. there was pain th
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, 2017
The best so far: this one made me laugh, cry, cringe, want to stop reading then a paragraph later declare I must read all volumes again, celebrate with the author when his first novel is published, mourn with him at the end of relationships and at deaths, hurt with him at those betrayals in life we all experience. And, Karl Ove, I'm proud of you: in this volume, unlike volume 4, you own up to self-pleasure! Yes, it's convenient and sorta like eating and sleeping! Perfectly natural. Anyway, I've ...more
Enjoyed this immensely. Hard to say why... there is nothing literary about Knausgaard. Where is the artistry? Yet his honesty is compelling
Probably my favorite since the first in the His Struggle series. I attribute it to the fact that so much narrative is spent on Karl Ove's literary apprenticeship--specifically his literary readings, attempts to become a writer, and friendships with like-minded sorts. That's always interesting to me because I like to read about reading and I like to read about writing, so if you're going to navel gaze as only KOK can do (read: in style), this is the way you want to do it.

By this point, though, a
Justin Evans
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Airport literature for high-brows, and sometimes that's what you want. I enjoyed this one more than the first four, which is not to say it's better, but on the other hand, it's airport literature, so perhaps that is precisely to say it's better, but better for me. Four stars for how much I enjoyed it then, and two for quality. Basically, I'd much rather read about young KOK's days at university, hanging out with Jon Fosse and talking about Tor Ulven than another 80000000 pages about how his fath ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You either love or hate the My Struggle books. Reading hundreds of pages about a man drinking coffee, smoking, taking long walks and occasionally sitting down to write (largely to his grave disappointment) might seem like the most tedious thing you could possibly do, but it is everything but. Once you get sucked into the world of Karl Ove, it becomes impossible to leave. Let us not forget that this is still fiction and he should not be taken at face value, and when you read it like that it all f ...more
Eddie Watkins
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far from my favorite so far - too scattered/episodic with a profusion of characters in name only. But while these qualities diminished my reading pleasure, I can see how they perfectly mirror the frame of mind of Karl Ove's everyman as he negotiates his third decade, which made it interesting to ponder how such an outwardly shallow borderline fuck-up all the while harbored the human depths later revealed in his novels. And my pleasures did increase toward the end as he matured and settled into m ...more
deniz kureta
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite. Karl Ove Knausgård is the fragilest but also very determined and strong.
Thank god he exists and writes.
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" I talked and talked about literature, Norwegian and international, about my own book, what my aim was, well, it was to escape from the minimalistic, into the maximalistic, something bold and striking, baroque, Moby Dick, but not in an epic way, what I had tried to do was take the little novel, about one person, where there is not much external action, it is all internal, and extend it into an epic format, do you understand what I mean?" 634


"What's your novel about the
Katia N
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was much better than the 4th book. It was the first one structured more or less lineally and chronologically unlike his other books in this series. And I prefer him digress. But other than that, restored my faith in keeping reading this.

I might write down my thoughts about this instalment properly later.

Off to book 6.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I find myself developing a kind of doting-mother response to this series. I'm reading along and my mind is saying: "Oh, Karl Ove, please curtail your drinking. Remember what happened last time?" And he doesn't. I mean, he doesn't remember what happened last time because that's how much he drinks from time to time. And the aftermath rarely bodes well for him (regrets over sexual relations, fits of violence/anger, etc.). This volume really delves into his becoming a writer--the self-doubt, the suc ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
The fifth of the six book series, which I've followed over the last number of years, and probably my favourite of the lot. Once again Knausgaard goes into his life in minute detail, this time as he begins a writing course in Bergen as a 19 year old, and the book brings us past his debut novel to the death of his father, the event that featured so prominently in the first of the series.

Warts n all once again, the self doubt and anxiety faced by Knausgaard is always prominent. I think this one sto
Leo Robertson
Damn it feels good to be a bastard
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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 4 (Min kamp #4)
  • Min kamp 6 (Min kamp #6)

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