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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Knausgaard's strugle and the great doo-wop lyrics of "Gloria"

The second section of volume 4 of Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle begins after he blacks out at a party when he was a young teacher and moves back in time to his early attempts at sexual conquest, days and years filled with frustration, angst, shame, awkwardness, clumsiness, furtiveness, boastfulness, idealization of women, denigration of women, same of self - in other words, a recognizable and typical boyhood - shocking how much I, and I think almost anyone, can identify with an comprehend across cultures, generations, maybe genders. The twin poles of this section are the Danish girl with whom he almost has sex (would have been his first time, at 16) until tricked by his friends who show up unexpectedly just to be mean and funny - a girl he cares little about (probably mutually - she's not interested in a relationship) and his classmate, Hanna (?), whom he idealizes - who doesn't know this kind of relationship, the artistic, sensitive, funny young guy going after a girl who's way far out of his league, and she likes him, maybe is a little attracted, certainly likes the adoration, but it's clear the relationship as far as it goes is one-sided. And I keep thinking of those great doo-wop lyrics (2+ generations before Knausgaard - the one thing I don't "get" throughout this series is his set of musical reference points - they're names to me only, not evocative songs), Gloria, to wit: Gloria, it's not Marie; Gloria, it's not Cherie; it's Gloria - but she's not in love w/ me. Says it all. This section of My Struggle IV gradually evolves to be about KOK's parents, now just divorced as he's 16 and starting to be independent, father in a new relationship and tries awkwardly to be pals w/ KOK but he is still a mean and scary person, maybe worse now as he's becoming seriously addicted to alcohol in a way that the young KOK doesn't quite comprehend. KOK living now with his mother, and has a long talk in which he tells her she's not to blame for the father's abuse, which she claims never to have seen - KOK far too nice and forgiving, but you can see why he is, he's so afraid of losing her love in this time of great instability in his life, home broken up, struggling w/ all the angst of adolescence w/out any stable home or family.

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