Knausgaard’s Struggle

In recent years, 47-year old Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard has become a literary sensation, quite unusual given that his fame comes primarily through his six-book series of autobiographical novels, collectively referred to by the suggestive My Struggle (Min Kamp). In total, this series totals some 3,600 pages.

To even contemplate tackling this seems to me insane, particularly when there’s still all that Dostoevsky I have yet to read.

In The Chronicle, Tom Bartlett writes about Knausgaard, amidst the pomo madness that is the annual MLA conference (“A Norse God Among the Lit-Critters“). Within the piece is this paragraph which perked my interest:

I met Jakob Holm, another Knausgaard panelist, in Austin, near the University of Texas campus, at a Starbucks buzzing with warmly dressed undergraduates at varying levels of caffeination. Holm, who is from Denmark, is a lecturer in Scandinavian literature and culture at the university. In his paper, Holm calls Knausgaard the “anti-Facebook” author because, while most people advertise their successes in their short status updates, he catalogs his humiliations at length in his books. Holm also writes that My Struggle could be taken as “one long indictment of the welfare state and how it has depersonalized its citizens through a highly efficient and all-out leveling bureaucracy that has led to politically correct complacency.”

Alas, this theme isn’t pursued by Bartlett beyond the above.

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