Knaussgard and his autobiographies


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.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

Karl Knausgard on memoir and memory

Finally started book 2 of his memoir series, My Struggle [Kindle].

Seeing her grow up also changes my view of my own upbringing, not so much because of the quality but the quantity, the sheer amount of time you spend with your children, which is immense. So many hours, so many days, such an infinite number of situations that crop up and are lived through. From my own childhood I remember only a handful of incidents, all of which I regarded as momentous, but which I now understand were a few events among many, which completely expunges their meaning, for how can I know that those particular episodes that lodged themselves in my mind were decisive, and not all the others of which I remember nothing?

Reminds me of another quote:

Memory is not the opposite of forgetting, it is a form of forgetting – Milan Kundera

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.