Arab Today, arab today a death in the family by karl ove knausgaard
Last Updated : GMT 21:07:14
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

London - Arabstoday

The corpse in A Death in the Family belongs to the author\'s father, and this book – marketed as fiction, but obviously memoir – is the first instalment of a six-volume fictionalised autobiography that has been phenomenally successful in Norway. The series has been bought by almost half a million of the country\'s five million inhabitants, necessitating some workplaces to declare \"Knausgaard-free days\" on which employees were cajoled to talk about something else. For an author who, by his own admission, was not satisfied with modest sales, literary prizes, good reviews and the domesticities of marriage, this explosion of fame was the Faustian fulfilment of a dream. \"I wanted so much to be someone. I wanted so much to be special,\" he says of his boyhood self. The young Karl Ove writes rubbish goth poetry, plays in a rubbish rock band and dresses like the Edge of U2, determined to break free of his father\'s oppressive influence. He\'s convinced he\'s bound for greatness, yet, by the age of 40, finds himself bogged down in the messy compromises of middle-class parenthood. Only when he gives himself permission to exorcise his familial discontents in print does he feel he\'s finally writing \"something exceptional\". In interviews, Knausgaard claims that he strove for years to write about his father, unsuccessfully, until he decided to just \"tell it as it was\". The elaborate artifice that characterised his previous book (published here as A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven) was abandoned. \"I gave up all ambition, I didn\'t try to be clever or anything: I just tried to write as fast as I could.\" Banging out 10 to 20 pages a day, Knausgaard eventually produced 3,500. A Death in the Family begins with a grand meditation on post-mortem microbes worthy of Jim Crace\'s Being Dead, and ends impressively too, with a profoundly resonant last line. In between, in a Proustian spirit of digression, there are philosophical pensées of varying interest, as well as vivid evocations of adolescent hypersensitivity and confusion. The bulk of the text, however, consists of mundane family life described in microscopic detail. All the dull stuff that most novelists would omit, Knausgaard leaves in. I\'ve consulted Norwegian friends about the translation, and I\'d guess that most of the infelicities in the text are due to Knausgaard\'s hurried workrate rather than to Don Bartlett\'s inadequate skill. Convoluted verbiage such as \"In addition, an equally hitherto unsuspected vulnerability surfaced\" is a faithful rendition of the original, as are many of the hackneyed phrases (hungry as a wolf, two sides of the same coin, like sand through my fingers, and so on). There is little a translator can do about Knausgaard\'s often wilfully banal style. Half the book\'s bulk seems devoted to activities such as lighting cigarettes, drinking beer, going to the newsagents, making small talk. \"I unscrewed the lid of the coffee tin, put two spoonfuls in my cup and poured in the water, which rose up the sides, black and steaming, then I got dressed.\" Eleven lines are spent on a fly buzzing in the window, half a dozen on the mechanics of rolling a fag (\"licked the glue, removed any shreds of tobacco, dropped them in the pouch…\"). This merciless specificity, which some readers may find maddening, serves two purposes. It lends an air of unedited truth to the project, and it adds power to the final third of the book, where Karl Ove and his brother Yngve are saddled with the grim job of cleaning the house in which their father drank himself to death. The shit-encrusted couch, the gunge on the shower-screen, the mounds of soiled clothing, the dried-up bits of old soap, the desiccated creams and ointments, the endless bottles of booze – they\'re all here, and more, much more. The two brothers spend a week doing what they can with Jif and Klorin and yellow rubber gloves, and by the end of that week, you feel you\'ve laboured with them. Fans of Raymond Carver may object that there are other, more concise ways to convey the father\'s degradation, but Knausgaard\'s method is undeniably effective. But what of the father\'s surviving relatives? And what of Knausgaard\'s mother, his brother, his wife and ex-wife, the teenage girlfriend he divested of knickers and ejaculated against despite not particularly liking her? How might these people react to being grist for Knausgaard\'s literary mill? The title of the whole series in Norwegian – Min Kamp (\"My Struggle\"), deliberately echoing Hitler\'s autobiography – is indicative of the self-absorption that allowed Knausgaard to write it in the first place and to profess surprise at the amount of hurt it caused. The second instalment (to be issued in translation next year) dissects Knausgaard\'s failed first marriage, to a woman called Tonje who has since aired her side of the story in the media. A Death in the Family was tabloid news, too: the unflinching descriptions of the senile, rancid grandmother, leaking piss while wheedling for vodka, provoked Knausgaard\'s uncle to threaten a law suit. Virtually every \"character\" who appears in Min Kamp has been interviewed by the Norwegian press. The British media is unlikely to offer such copious amounts of Knausgaard fuel, but the response here so far suggests that plenty of readers will feel compelled to voice their opinions on the rights and wrongs of his enterprise. Of course, Knausgaard is by no means the first author to stir this controversy. It\'s just that history has a way of biodegrading media fuss, so that each new furore seems unprecedented. When Hanif Kureishi writes an autobiographical novel, his family accuse him of spiteful fabrications. John Bayley\'s memoirs of his life with Iris Murdoch were criticised for their focus on such taboo subjects as her toilet habits. Two years ago, Julie Myerson\'s account of life with her drug-addicted son was widely felt to have sacrificed sacred privacies on the altar of authorial ambition. Back in February, Rachel Cusk\'s literary moanfest about her separation sparked debate about the same thing. And so on. Gossip is as forgetful as it is virulent. The real question about Knausgaard\'s work is not whether, in the coming months, you will find yourself discussing it with friends and workmates – you probably will. The real question is whether anyone will be reading it in 20 years\' time. On the evidence of A Death in the Family, I suspect that Knausgaard\'s lifelong yearning to achieve literary immortality may prove biodegradable too.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today a death in the family by karl ove knausgaard Arab Today, arab today a death in the family by karl ove knausgaard

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Saudis await visitors but will they come?

GMT 11:54 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Saudis await visitors but will they come?
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Blind sheikh buried in Egypt

GMT 06:32 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Blind sheikh buried in Egypt
Arab Today, arab today Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success

GMT 15:32 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Media host Mona Iraqi stresses her show's success

GMT 15:04 2017 Wednesday ,04 January

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ becomes German bestseller

GMT 23:50 2016 Thursday ,08 December

UAE is helping the Arab world read more books

GMT 11:07 2016 Monday ,07 November

Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces first longlist

GMT 10:03 2016 Thursday ,13 October

A new illustrated book compares Beirut and New York

GMT 08:55 2016 Sunday ,25 September

Chinese Book Fair kicks off in Kathmandu
View News in Arabic - Culture: مراجعة كتب
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today To hold social dialogue over secondary school

GMT 07:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

To hold social dialogue over secondary school
Arab Today, arab today UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years

GMT 05:14 2017 Thursday ,23 February

UK appoints 1st Scotland Yard chief in 188 years
Arab Today, arab today Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage

GMT 12:16 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Tesla back into red but revenue grows

GMT 07:27 2017 Thursday ,23 February

Tesla back into red but revenue grows
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'

GMT 05:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Salma Rashid happy for 'A Whisper of Love'
Arab Today, arab today Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 10:28 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Milan laughs while Rome cries

GMT 06:41 2017 Monday ,20 February

Janat pleased for issuing 'Good Morning'

GMT 12:35 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

63-Year-Old Woman Delivers Baby

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 15:53 2017 Tuesday ,21 February

Small ponds have outsized impact

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 07:51 2017 Wednesday ,22 February

Mom's immune system accepts babies

GMT 17:46 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Tourist guide reveals methods of tourist attractions

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday