Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Inadvertent” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Lese, skrive (Forlaget Oktober) #3)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event’s keynote speaker.
The series launched in
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Yale University Press (first published September 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Inadvertent, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Inadvertent

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  358 ratings  ·  62 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Inadvertent
Lee Klein
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reads almost like a re-mixed excerpt from My Struggle Book Five’s parts about writing. A typo on page 7 (“than” instead of “that”) on a page about trust made me distrust this one’s publication at first, thinking it a little money-grubby, but that slight initial sense fell away as the old familiar voice and progress through internal and external worlds established themselves. No one mentions KOK in the same breath as Kerouac, even if both were deeply inspired by Proust and KOK's "inadvertent" method ec ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Thoughts are the enemy of the inadvertent, for if one thinks about how something will seem to others, if one thinks about if something is important or good enough, if one begins to calculate or pretend, then it is no longer inadvertent and accessable as itself, but only as what we have made it into."
- Karl Ove Knausgaard, Inadvertent


The second book published in the Windam-Campbell and Yale Press series 'Why I Write'. This short book is the lecture Knausgaard gave at the 2017 Windam-Campbell Prize cer
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
Karl Ove discourses on why he writes. He doesn't answer the question, but the way in which he didn't answer it was interesting and engaging.

Edited: for clarity
Sushma Manava
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inadvertent is Karl’s attempt to answer the very complex question about why he writes and it was an absolute delight to read and gave me an insight into his beautiful writing albeit translated. In this discussion he touches upon reading and why we read too and I’m onboard with all the reasons.
This man is very talented. I’ve watched some videos of him speak on stage. This essay would come to life and would be been a whole different experience if he actually gave it as a speech. Nonet
Erin Rouleau
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I might be in love with this man, or at the very least he feels like such a kindred soul. I've tried to inadequately articulate too many times, what he so gracefully did below:

“[Vincent Van Gogh] was on fire, driven by an intense will to communicate his inner world to the outer one, but the resistance was too great, the language he had access to was incapable of expressing it. But his will was as wild as it was blind, little by little the distance was whittled away, until he produced his final
Anatoly Molotkov
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"For many years I followed these rules of writing, that one shouldn't psychologize and that one shouldn't tell, but show. ... It wasn't until I started breaking the rules .... that my writing came alive." An ambiguous and multifaceted statement about the choice to write.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
shamefully, I'm yet to read one of knausgaard's works, but this essay was enough to convince me to change that. i've been studying literary theory this year for a class, and i've struggled to find any of it interesting or engaging - semiotics, myth, yada yada yada - it's not working for me. i just don't see why you would volunteer to take a clinical approach to literature, something so magical in its ability to transport readers into different realities, new spheres of understanding. what's the ...more
ريم الصالح
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book! Wow!
Not long ago, I have read My Struggle by Knausgaard and I can say that it wasn't my cup of tea -if I might say- I couldn't even complete the first book! But after I read Inadvertent by the same author, I can say that this man can surely bring out the best of him when you just simply ask him: Why do you write?

The writing was simple yet connects to the reader instantly! Karl makes you feel as if you both knew each other for a very long time, sitting in a cosy café,
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a slight touch of profundity, if you ask me. What he writes here, about spontaneous non-self-conscious prose writing, smacks heavily of Zen Buddhism and the illusion of free will. He might as well say, and pretty much does say, that he enters the zone and becomes the word, becomes the flow of words. The thoughts and words flow out of him in automatic fashion and only when they're on the page does he realize what he's written: to whit, in near-summation on the 2nd to last page: ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it

Knausgaard is one of those writers who I have read lots about, in particular his Seasons Quartet. I have read at least one long form interview with him and he certainly seemed like an interesting enough character, but this is the first time I have got round to reading his work.

I enjoyed the way he captured the feel and mood of his childhood reading experiences, the way he would get immersed and lost in comic books for days and in particular his memories of reading Ursula K. Le Guin a
Dylan Perry
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
The honesty on display here is raw, real, and appreciated. Because as interesting as the highs are—the success stories, breaking out as an author and gaining acolytes—to me, the creative lows are just as fascinating. And Karl Ove Knausgaard doesn’t hold back. He goes into detail about the years that went in between projects. Talks about how he labors, churning out page after page and yet still the story wouldn’t work. How he almost reinvents how he writes to get it to where he wants. This isn’t ...more
Danny Daley
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've now read four of Knausgaard's books, none of them from his "My Struggle" series, but I'm enthralled with the work I've encountered, and this book, about why he writes, which does not entirely even answer the question, is as engaging as the others. His thoughts about art, and the literary struggle between that which is empathetic and that which is cerebral, and his thoughts about letting go of inhibitions and "the rules" and driving towards authenticity, are all noble in their own way, and I ...more
Kathleen Flynn
About writing. Brief yet fascinating. Sent me to Borges and also makes me want to read rest of In Search of Lost Time. And of course A Wizard of Earthsea.

I haven't read all of the volumes of My Struggle but I would like to. Yes, he's very hyped but there is something very special about this writer too.
[2018] In this essay, the author addresses, "why I write." By the end of it, I still don't think either of us knows, but it doesn't matter, I just loved reading him riff on it.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It has a slow start, and a sudden ending, but overall it’s enjoyable to read Knausgaard’s thoughts on why he writes, or what led him to write in the way he does.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This essay could stand as an out-take from My Struggle: Knausgaard reflecting on why he does what he does, (sometimes) who gets hurt, and what the whole point of that is.
Melting Uncle
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished2018
So nice I listened to the audiobook twice.
I think this would actually be a good first book if you've never read this author.
Lots of cool KOK anecdotes including his attempt to watch Game of Thrones.
I can't think of anything negative to say about this!
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Within about one month we get three Knausgaard books. Summer, Inadvertent, My Struggle #6. It’s been a good month and My Struggle is out in 7 days. As for this book, it’s really just an essay/speech he gave about why he writes.

It’s interesting as he wrestles with the intricacies of the answer to that question. He is quite honest about his motivations and aspirations for his work and for art in general. Some of the book seems almost verbatim from a few sections of My Struggle. But it’s only a sm
Fredrikke Wongraven
karl ove knausgård has become my favourite author after the "my struggle"-series and when i heard about this book i just had to get it. it did not disappoint. knausgård manages to amaze me once again. the way he describes writing really resonates with me and i think his writing exercises seemed interesting.

i would recommend this book to any person who wants to write a book (which is probably all of us).
P.D. Dawson
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
As an author myself, I have a keen interest in the craft of writing and how fellow authors feel about this mysterious craft. Firstly Knausgård debates why he writes and then branches out into what writing actually is. He writes about this truthfully and lucidly, while offering numerous examples from childhood where he first discovered reading and the way a good storyteller can take you out of this world. He also explains the difficulties he has with even summarising or expressing how he actually ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inadvertent is the 2018 lecture delivered by Karl Knausgaard as part of the “Why I Write” Series at Yale University. 92 pages of chiseled prose about how writers accidentally-on-purpose make writing happen.

There is no one answer, of course. In a series of attempts, or in French, assays, he works his way around the question. Only inadvertently, Knausgaard says, is how writers achieve their ends. If you know exactly where you think you want to go and precisely to get there…then you don
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible essay in which the author answers the question, “why do I write?” He thinks back to his childhood love of reading, how when he read, he was alone but never felt it. How there are spans of his childhood that are “memoryless” (oh gosh, that word alone had me putting my hand to my heart), yet he can remember the day he was playing in the snow and his mother came home and gave him what would be his favorite book and he remembers reading it right away and connecting with the cha ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I need to buy a copy of this book so I may freely highlight the many passages and thoughts that jumped out at me. I’ve never read anything by this author, but have heard of him.

I found myself deeply fascinated by what he explained, as he tried to successfully describe why he writes, and found this tiny book full of so much insight to be a revelation and sadly, much too short!

As someone who has tried to write throughout my life, faced self-doubt and crippling block, most of the time self-inflic
Scott Lee
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful meditation on writing, literature, reading and life. Knausgaard's descriptions here are simultaneously crystal clear and opaque as smoked glass. In the way most writing about writing is that is descriptive and confessional rather than didactic.

And as is true of all writing (and all art) this book, even if unintentionally, is as much about the artist as the art, the author as the story it tells, the writer as the information it conveys. It drew me in and tossed me around. I was shock
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let's keep this party going, volume 7.25 (a joke but I count Home and Away as 6.5, and the book three of the Quartet series as another half book). Inadvertent is a meta view of why Knausgard writes. It's a quarter of a My Struggle book.

It's about why Karl Ove writes and his reflections on it; and what books jar him--A Wizard of Earthsea, Ulysses/The Dead, Madame Bovary, The Idiot, Hunger, War and Peace, Borges, Proust, and not Kundera, etc.

At a slim 92 pages, this probably makes me a shy under
Zac Smith
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it
didn't realize til after i bought it that it's just a speech he gave somewhere, not a special book object with its own literary merit. so it's mostly a rehash of some of the themes, ideas, and stories from book 5. i like his analysis of the question, how we navigate from too pretentious to too stupid and all in between. i liked his brief discussion of trends in literary analysis. but overall this is short and not super gripping. not worth the $20 hardcover -- it's like size 13 font with huge mar ...more
Raul Clement
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not so much a book as a long essay. If you're going to buy it, I'd suggest getting it used instead of paying $20 for something you can read in a sitting.

That said, I'd rank it up there with "That Crafty Feeling" by Zadie Smith and "The Sentence Is A Lonely Place" by Gary Lutz as the three best essays about writing I've read. It also has elements of "This Is Water" by David Foster Wallace. An inspiring, insightful piece about the purpose of literature and how it affects our relationship
York Underwood
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is something intoxicating about his writing and I'm not quite sure what it is...yet. His metaphors can be cliche–that's probably more of a cliche to say at this point–but you feel a closeness to him that carries you along, paragraph by paragraph. After a while you don't feel like you're reading. You feel like these are your thoughts, this is your world, your essay and you're just dying to get it out on paper.

I have to count myself a fan, as always.
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this idea of "writing to create a space to lose myself"...but at the end, the only way Knausgaard feels free as a writer is to bring himself into the writing, instead of camouflaging his own presence.
A very interesting felt like the revelation of the struggle beneath "My Struggle".
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this dude. Beautiful little book (essay) on 'why he writes'. He's got some ideas, in his typically simple but eloquently tangled way. If you're going to spend the time to read Karl Ove's 'My Struggle' series, perhaps a quick primer on his writing process would be beneficial.

Great one hour keynote address for the 2017 Windham-Campbell Prizes,
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Henrik Falk
  • La rose la plus rouge s'épanouit
  • Oktoberbarn
  • Hungerhjerte
  • Elsken
  • Menn i min situasjon
  • Sieben Nächte
  • Min mor var besat: Da jeg mødte depressionens dæmon
  • Dyrene i Afrika
  • Devotion
  • مدينة بنصف قلب
  • Vinterland
  • Efter solen
  • Dyksommar
  • De ansatte
  • Havbrevene
  • Coventry: Essays
  • De tre paver
See similar books…
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, t

Other books in the series

Lese, skrive (Forlaget Oktober) (3 books)
  • Kva hender i romanen?
  • Hjemløsheten
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“When I was a boy I read an enormous quantity of books, my sole object being to get away from the reality I was living in—in other words, pure and simple escapism.” 0 likes
More quotes…