Friday, July 28, 2017

Karl Ove Knausgaard - Dancing In The Dark - My Struggle 4 (Harvill Secker, 2015) ***

Book 4! Two more to go and Knausgaard's "The Struggle" series will be finished, I guess. In this book he describes how he became a teacher right after secondary school (!), moving to the north of Norway to start working in a local school. Like with the previous 'novels' he takes the concept of autobiography to a new height, recreating in minute detail the facts and dialogues and thoughts and feelings that he cannot possibly have remembered, fantasising the day-to-day happenings around the key moments of his life.

And you get it as it is: the love stories, the friends, the teachers, the distress, the puerile attitude, the young man's irresponsible behaviour now that he's living away from his parents, and his responsible behaviour now that he's a teacher, his disrespect for his drunken father, his brother, his mother, and his own drunken bouts ... all themes and stories that we have started to know from the previous books. But nevertheless, it makes for fun reading, especially because it is so easy to identify with him. Knausgaard is nine years younger than me, but the context, and even the music where not that different then. The people are real people, with real stories and behaviour, erratic or friendly. The plot and the characters are real, and then you may wonder why you read this description of a reality that is nothing special, that is so unbelievably common and recognisable ... because that's exactly what it does. His writing is so good, that you get transposed again, not into fiction, but into a reality that you had almost forgotten. It brings back memories of what you, as the reader did at that time. It's a kind of literary time-machine. And that makes it fun. There is doubt about it that I will read the other two books.

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