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Photo by Don J. Usner

Karl Ove Knausgaard

Photo by Don J. Usner

Karl Ove Knausgaard is a Norwegian author whose books include A Time for Everything and Out of This World as well as his six volume, 3,600 page autobiographical novel, My Struggle. Dubbed “a Norwegian Marcel Proust,” Knausgaard begins his story in Book One almost ten years after his father has drunk himself to death. Reflecting on this time while embarking on a new novel, the author breaks down his own life story to its most elemental occurrences. Long passages reflecting on art, literature and music are interspersed with everyday details in the life of an ordinary Scandinavian.

Translated into English by Don Bartlett, Books Two through Four (with translations of Five and Six forthcoming) continue Knausgaard’s epic, with deep introspection on love, family, friends, childhood and coming of age. Reflecting on the history of notions of life and death, Knausgaard asks: “What was man on this earth other than an insect among other insects, a life-form among other life-forms, which might just as well take the form of algae in a lake or fungi on the forest floor, roe in a fish’s stomach, rats in a nest or a cluster of mussels on a reef?”