The books have courted controversy, and not just because of the Hitler-redolent name; Knausgaard lays bare the most private moments of his friends and family. However amoral this is, though, it’s refreshing to see so much ink spent on the quotidian, with the lives of the author’s thinly veiled acquaintances as engagingly wrought as those of many fictional characters.
Many critics have compared My Struggle to Proust, but such comparison is facile – though as lengthy and digressive, Knausgaard’s offerings are staunchly plain in style. There’s something mesmerizing about the author’s shopping list sentences and reams of detail. Even the most banal instances become fascinating – as New Yorker critic James Wood remarked, “Even when I was bored, I was interested.” Zadie Smith once tweeted "I just read 200 pages of [My Struggle] and I need the next volume like crack."
It’s not always particularly good prose, but then neither is life – sublime moments jolting out from a sea of unremarkable experience. And when Knausgaard does deploy a metaphor or striking turn of phrase, it’s perfectly judged.
As the fifth volume Some Rain Must Fall goes into publication, audiences have the opportunity to hear Knausgaard discuss the second volume A Man In Love which, among much else, is a powerful rumination on marriage and fatherhood.
|What||Karl Ove Knausgaard, The Tabernacle|
|Where||Tabernacle, 34-35 Powis Square, London, W11 2AY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westbourne Park (underground)|
On 23 Feb 16, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book|