I haven't read any Knausgaard, but Toril Moi's critique of it strikes a chord with me - particularly as it relates his work to a quest for presence, and 'attention'. A question of one's existence and an attempt to record or validate it. Might have to add 'My Struggle' to the 'to read' list, though it seems like a behemoth.
"Nothing is more ordinary than existence—than being there; nothing is easier to miss. This is the heart of the project of 'My Struggle': all these thousands of pages are attempts to pay attention. They arise from the realization of how easy it is to miss the adventure of one’s own existence, to live one’s life without noticing, without paying attention to that one thing: that I was there. But they also arise from the realization that we will inevitably miss much of that adventure, that our only hope is to recreate the moments of existence from memory."
I agree that it sounds like a large undertaking. Perhaps it could be a read that is done in stages. I loved even the excerpt that was given in this article. Since it is mostly feelings driven, perhaps it lends itself to smaller, more reflective reading periods. All I know is that I’m feeling compelled to look into it.
This is the best attempt I have encountered of someone trying to articulate for what makes Karl Ove so captivating and divisive. I love My Struggle but I have also been understanding of people who haven’t. To me, I have always felt that he comes the closest to realizing the experience of existing as a human being. I appreciated how Moi delves deeper to lay out a more unified theory of what Knausgaard is doing. Given Moi’s interpretation, it’s also interesting to note that Knausgaard’s popularity has paralleled a large increase in Western interest in meditation and mindfulness practices that espouse the same importance of “being present.”
YES!!!! This article SO captivated me. Wow, how can one question whether this author is an artist when he is “breaking all the rules.” My Struggle sounds fascinating - a must for me to check out. “Descriptions are the backbone of My Struggle. A way of writing that doesn’t shun feelings, a way of writing that creates meaning and beauty.” And I found this SO true; “Knowing too much distracts us from paying full attention to what is there.” Karl Ove “sets out to capture the freshness of the world.” I’m in!