A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

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A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven
Author Karl Ove Knausgård
Original title En tid for alt
Translator James Anderson
Country Norway
Language Norwegian
Publisher Forlaget Oktober
Publication date
Published in English
Pages 559
ISBN 82-495-0091-1

A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven (Norwegian: En tid for alt) is a 2004 novel by the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård. It is known as A Time for Everything in the United States. Its narrator is a man who has decided to write a book about the history of angels; his main source is a 16th-century treatise on angels by an Italian theologian, who encountered a pair of angels when he was young. The novel's Norwegian and British titles are a quotation from Ecclesiastes.[1]


Salley Vickers reviewed the book for The Guardian, and wrote that it is "apparent from the start that here is a book that wants to be taken very seriously". Vickers wrote that "Knausgaard is at his best with finely observed natural description; he is also skilful with atmosphere", but the "theological and historical-sociological exegesis ... becomes a recurring, and increasingly distracting, strain. ... [I]t is hard not to wonder if [Knausgård] began this book as an academic theological study and halfway through decided to transform it into a hybrid fiction by giving his commentaries". Vickers ended the review: "This is a book that will divide people. It may well become a cult novel. But it left me wanting to return to the spare and unpretentious tellings of the old stories that engendered it."[2] Anna Paterson of The Independent wrote: "This kind of speculative tale needs very good telling not to read like mad pedantry or utter tosh. Knausgard and his translator, who writes like the author's soulmate, veer close to both. Yet the writing glows with an intense awareness of the here and now, and loving observations of landscapes and objects."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paterson, Anna (2009-01-12). "A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven, By Karl Ove Knausgard, trans. James Anderson". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  2. ^ Vickers, Salley (2008-11-08). "Divine intervention". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-01-04.