Karl Ove Knausgård
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|Karl Ove Knausgård|
Karl Ove Knausgård 2010
6 December 1968 |
Debut and follow-up
Knausgård made his publishing debut in 1998 with the novel Out of the World, for which he was awarded the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature. This was the first time in the award's history that a debutant had won.
His second novel, A Time for Everything (2004), partly retells certain parts of the Bible, as well as the history of angels on earth. The book won a number of awards, and was nominated for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize. It was also nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It has been called a "strange, uneven, and marvelous book" by The New York Review of Books.
The Min Kamp books
While Knausgård´s two first books were well received, it was with the Min Kamp books that Knausgård became a household name in Norway, due to the books' large success as well as the controversy they raised.
In 2009 Knausgård published My Struggle - First Book, the first volume of a series of six autobiographical novels, which were published in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The six books total over 3500 pages.
The Min Kamp books caused significant controversy when they were released, partly because the Norwegian title of the book, Min Kamp, is the same as Hitler's Mein Kampf, and partly because some have suggested Knausgård goes too far in exposing the private lives of his friends and family, including his ex-wife and grandmother. The books have nevertheless received almost universally favourable reviews, especially the first two volumes, and, even before the final book's publication, they were one of the greatest publishing phenomena in Norway ever. In a country of fewer than five million people, the Min Kamp series has sold over 450,000 copies.
In a radio interview with his estranged ex-wife, Tonje Aursland, who plays a central part in several of the Min Kamp books, Knausgård admitted that he sometimes feels that he has made a "Faustian bargain" — that he has achieved huge success by sacrificing his relationships with friends and members of his family. In October 2010, Aursland presented her perspective on involuntarily becoming a subject of her ex-husband's autobiography in a radio documentary broadcast on NRK. Knausgård´s uncle, who is represented as Gunnar in the Min Kamp books, has been highly critical of the whole project in the Norwegian press.
The Min Kamp series is currently being translated into numerous languages. The earliest books have already been published to great critical acclaim in Denmark Sweden, and several other countries. The first three have (as of 2014) been translated into English by Don Bartlett for publication by Archipelago Books (US) and Harvill Secker (UK), and have been retitled A Death in the Family, A Man in Love and Boyhood Island. The fourth volume is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on 2 June 2015. In a long and largely positive review of the first Min Kamp books, James Wood of The New Yorker wrote that "There is something ceaselessly compelling about Knausgård’s book: even when I was bored, I was interested." In a review of Book 2: A Man in Love in The New York Times, Leland de la Durantaye called the My Struggle series "breathtakingly good" and compared it to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. In a review of Book 3: Boyhood Island in the Times Literary Supplement, Thomas Meaney reflected on the differences between Proust and Knausgård, and wrote about the philosophy behind the Min Kamp books. Frenchculture.org website noted that, even though Knausgård was called the "Norwegian Proust", the first volume sold very few copies in France, probably because the strong French tradition of autofiction makes the book look less original than it appears in the US.
Work following Min Kamp
Knausgård served as a consultant to the new Norwegian translation of the Bible. In 2013, he published a collection of essays, Sjelens Amerika: tekster 1996–2013 ("The Soul's [or Mind's] America: Writings 1996–2013"), and as of September 2013 he is adapting his novel Out of the World into a screenplay.
Between 1999 and 2002 Knausgård was co-editor of Vagant, a Norwegian literary magazine founded in 1988. He was part of the first editorial team of Vagant in Bergen; until 1999 the magazine had been based in Oslo. Knausgård contributed essays about the writings of Don DeLillo and The Divine Comedy by Dante. He also conducted in-depth interviews with the Norwegian writers Rune Christiansen and Thure Erik Lund for the magazine. Just after he left Vagant and Bergen, his former co-editor Preben Jordal wrote a very negative review of Knausgård's second novel in the magazine, with the title «Mellom Bibel og babbel» ("Between the Bible and blah-blah") — an episode discussed in the second volume of Min Kamp.
In 2010, he created small publishing house, Pelikanen (Pelican), with Yngve Knausgård (his brother) and Asbjørn Jensen.
- 1998: Ute av verden (Out of the World)
- 2004: A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven (En tid for alt)
- 2009–2011: My Struggle (Min Kamp), six volumes
- 2013: Sjelens Amerika: tekster 1996-2013 [essays]
- 2014: Nakker
Awards and nominations
- Nominated for the 2004 Nordic Council's Literature Prize
- Winner of the 1998 Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature
- Winner of the 2009 Brage Prize
- Winner of the 2009 NRK P2 Listeners' Prize
- Winner of the 2010 Book of the Year Prize in Morgenbladet
- See full list of Awards and honours of My Struggle
- "Karl O. Knausgaard". Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- "The Primordial Struggle by Ingrid D. Rowland | The New York Review of Books". Nybooks.com. 2010-10-14. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "Høye salgstall for Karl Ove Knausgård i Sverige / Pressemeldinger / Presse / Hovedsiden - Forlaget Oktober" (in Norwegian). Oktober.no. 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- Gundersen, Trygve Riiser (October 3, 2010). "Knausgård burde være glad". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved October 4, 2010.
- Eivind Kristensen, "«Onkel Gunnar» tar knallhardt oppgjør med Knausgård" (in Norwegian), Aftenposten, 17 November 2011.
- "Får toppkarakterer i Danmark - Litteratur - NRK Nyheter". Nrk.no. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- James Wood, "Total Recall". The New Yorker, 13 August 1212.
- Leland de la Durantaye (21 June 2013): Inside Story The New York Times, retrieved 25 June 2013
- Thomas Meaney (21 March 2014): "A Vital Hatred", The Times Literary Supplement; retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Nina Berglund (04 September 2013): "Knausgaard cancels all appearances", Views and News from Norway; retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Om oss - Pelikanen forlang". Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "Hennes kamp är explosiv". Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Knausgård, Karl Ove / Oktober / Authors". Aschehoug Agency. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "A Time for Everything". Archipelago Books. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Karl Ove Knausgård.|
- Karl Ove Knausgård at Aschehoug Agency
- Karl Ove Knausgård at Forlaget Oktober
- Karl Ove Knausgård Proust Questionnaire at Portobello Books
- Karl Ove Knausgård Bibliography
- Karl Ove Knausgård interview in English for Canada's CBC radio
- Ben Lerner on Knausgård in London Review of Books
- "My Struggle vol. 1" in Politiken (Danish)
- "My Struggle vol. 2" in Politiken (Danish)
- "My Struggle vol. 1–4" in Göteborgs-Posten (Swedish)
- "My Struggle vol. 1" in Dagbladet Information (Danish)
- "A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven" in The Independent