My Struggle, Book Three: Boyhood (Hardcover)
A family of four--mother, father and two boys--move to the South Coast of Norway to a new house on a newly developed site. It is the early 1970s and the family's trajectory, upwardly mobile: the future seems limitless. In painstaking, sometimes self-lacerating detail, Knausgaard paints a world familiar to anyone who can recall the intensity and novelty of childhood experience, one in which children and adults lead parallel lives that never meet. Perhaps the most Proustian in the series, Book Three gives us Knausgaard's vivid, technicolor recollections of childhood, his emerging self-understanding, and the multilayered nature of time's passing, memory, and existence.
"Of course, I remember nothing from this time. It is completely impossible to identify with the infant my parents photographed; this is in fact so difficult it almost seems wrong to use the word 'I' when referring to it, lying in the baby bath, for instance, its skin unnaturally red, its arms and legs sprawling, and its face distorted in a scream no one remembers the reason for anymore ... Is that creature the same as the one sitting here in Malmö, writing this?"
--from Book Three of My Struggle
More praise for Book Three:
"A superbly told childhood story ... Knausgaard writes about everyday life as a child with a flow and continuity that all hangs together ... the text has a gravitational pull that draws the reader in only further." --Dag Og Tid (Norway)
"An aesthetic pleasure ... A patient, chiseled, and intense portrayal of a child's sensory experience. Book Three is a classic." --Klassekampen (Norway)
"Compelling reading ... Knausgaard has an equally good eye for small and large events." --Aftenposten (Norway)
"A gripping novel ... This childhood portrayal drifts off with a lightness and sensitivity that not many will associate with him ... There is no doubt that the series is worth following the author all the way." --Dagens Næringsliv (Norway)
"The man can write a novel about a solid, pretty traditional upbringing too ... A sensitive, sharp depiction of growing up in the 70's." --Adresseavisen (Norway)
About the Author
Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. "My Struggle "has won countless international literary awards and has been translated into at least fifteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and three children.
Ida Jessen is a popular and prize-winning Danish author who lives in Copenhagen on Sjaelland, the largest island in Denmark. She has written a number of novels and short stories for children and adults, and has translated numerous works from Norwegian and English into Danish, including Norwegian "crime queen" Karin Fossum's novels. The Children is her sixth adult novel. It was awarded the Golden Laurels prize (voted for by Danish booksellers) and was nominated for the Prize of the Nordic Council.
Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014
"Halfway through, this (six-volume) series is starting to look like an early-21st-century masterpiece." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"What's notable is Karl Ove's ability, rare these days, to be fully present in and mindful of his own existence. Every detail is put down without apparent vanity or decoration, as if the writing and the living are happening simultaneously. There shouldn't be anything remarkable about any of it except for the fact that it immerses you totally. You live his life with him. . . . The overweening absurdity of Ove's title is a bad joke that keeps coming back to you as you try to construct a life worthy of an adult. How to be more present, more mindful? Of ourselves, of others? For others?" -- Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books
"The book investigates the bottomless accumulation of mysteries everyday life imposes. . . Knausgaard's approach is plain and scrupulous, sometimes casual, yet he never writes down. His subject is the beauty and terror of the fact that all life coexists with itself. A living hero who landed on greatness by abandoning every typical literary feint, an emperor whose nakedness surpasses royal finery." -- Jonathan Lethem, The Guardian
"This segment of a genre-defying and unusual novel will leave readers hungry for the following installments, and serves as a fine entry point into the series." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Both Knausgaard’s Proustian style and the fact that his work is one long book stretched out into many volumes, just like In Search of Lost Time, should signal that it’s a literary event the likes of which we probably will not see again in our lifetimes. . . . Unlike almost every other work of art released in the 21st century, Knausgaard’s massive book is an ongoing cultural event that we’re being afforded the opportunity to savor." -- Jason Diamond, Flavorwire
"...reading My Struggle, you have the sense that Knausgaard has made a wonderful discovery, an almost scientific innovation. My Struggle is something new, something brave..." -- n + 1
"KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD. MY STRUGGLE. It's unbelievable. I just read 200 pages of it and I need the next volume like crack." — Zadie Smith, via Twitter
"Achieves an aching intimacy, one that transcends the personal and makes Knausgaard’s pursuit of grand artistic ideals, his daily joys and misgivings, strangely familiar." — Time Out New York
"A six-volume literary experiment in which a contemporary Norwegian author describes his own life may sound dull. But Knausgaard's literary experiment is both brutally honest and far from dull. Trust me, it'll be worth waiting for volumes three through six to appear in English translation." — Jo Nesbo, in The Week (one of Jo Nesbo's six favorite books)
"MY STRUGGLE is a revolutionary novel that is highly approachable, even thrilling to read. The book feels like a masterpiece––one of those genuinely surprising works that alters the tradition it inherited." — Bookforum
“One of the most anticipated books of the year (or the decade).” — Financial Times (UK)
"[Knausgaard is] one of the most remarkable authors who have emerged in recent years … he is in the process of becoming a global superstar." — The Economist (UK)
"Via his visceral, immersive art, Knausgaard makes the heart visible as he conjures 'the intensity that only exists in childhood'."— The Independent (UK)
"A compelling memoir of times we cannot know." — The London Evening Standard
"an immediacy as astonishing as that of its two predecessors. . . . In Don Bartlett’s lively vernacular translation, My Struggle will, I am convinced, outlive the furore, welcoming or hostile, of its first appearance." — Paul Binding, The Spectator (UK)
“extreme artlessness creates a far more intense realism than we might have thought possible, a confessional novel that outdoes most confessions.” — Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"...With each subsequent book of his that is translated into English, Mr. Knausgaard continues to solidify his reputation as one of the most vital writers working today." — The Observer
"It would be wrong to suggest that Karl Ove is just an Everyman-plus-shading, and that Knausgaard has simply lucked out. Historical factors may account for why My Struggle has become a “phenomenon” but they can neither explain nor dilute the novels’ richness. Yes, Knausgaard appeals to the modern appetite for warty portraiture and off-page bust-ups and has chronicled middle-class Norwegian life during the country’s “exceptionalist” phase. To a loud anglophone minority, he constitutes a thrillingly boring alternative to boringly diverting invention. But he also displays a tremendous and irreducible zeal for penetrating what Karl Ove, reeling after a date with Linda, calls “the inner core of human existence” – an effort that brings fame to some but not others, and in which he has no obvious superiors among the writers now available to an English-reading public." — The New Statesman
"MY STRUGGLE is a revolutionary novel that is highly approachable, even thrilling to read. The book feels like a masterpiece––one of those genuinely surprising works that alters the tradition it inherited. . . . What makes MY STRUGGLE so hypnotizing––a word more than one reviewer has used to describe it––is in part the pleasurable surprise of seeing habits of mind (your apathy at a dinner party, or envy of a friend's tracksuit, or momentary frustration with your partner) that normally go unrecorded put down in exhaustive detail. But it's also the interplay between those lengthy, hyperrealistic scenes of everyday experience and what are in effect meditative essays." — Meghan O'Rourke, Bookforum