I read the first book in Knaussgard’s series of autobiographical novels several years ago and was immediately taken in by his thoughts, his style, the flow. And last month I began to read the second book and once again I was reminded of why he’s such a special writer, and this a special work. For me, below is such a snippet:
After we came home from Idö I realized that this was all or nothing, I told Linda I was moving into the office, I would have to write day and night. You can’t do that, she said, that’s not on, you’ve got a family, or have you forgotten? It’s summer, or have you forgotten? Am I supposed to look after your daughter on my own? Yes, I said. That’s the way it is. No, it isn’t, she said, I won’t let you. Okay, I said, but I’ll do it anyway. And I did. I was totally manic. I wrote all the time, sleeping two or three hours a day, the only thing that had any meaning was the novel I was writing. Linda went to her mother’s and called me several times a day. She was so angry that she screamed, actually screamed on the phone. I just held it away from my ear and kept writing. She said she would leave me. Go, I said. I don’t care, I have to write. And it was true. She would have to go if that was what she wanted. She said, I will. You’ll never see us again. Fine, I said. I wrote twenty pages a day. I didn’t see any letters or words, any sentences or shapes, just countryside and people, and Linda phoned and screamed, said I was a fairweather father, said I was a bastard, said I was an unfeeling monster, said I was the worst person in the world and that she cursed the day she had met me. Fine, I said, leave me then, I don’t care, and I meant it, I didn’t care, no one was going to stand in the way of this, she slammed down the phone, she called two minutes later and continued to swear at me, I was on my own now, she would bring up Vanja alone, fine by me, I said. She cried, she begged, she pleaded, what I was doing to her was the worst thing anyone could do, leaving her alone. But I didn’t care, I wrote night and day, and then out of the blue she called and said she was coming home the following day, would I go to the station and meet them? Yes, I would.