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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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Lonely Teenager: Karl Ove Knausgaard and 16

It's his love for indie music and his ability to write about music through which Karl Ove Knausgaard begins to find his individuality and group identity (the two opposing forces of his "struggle" - being himself yet being one of the crowd) in volume 4 of My Struggle. I was a little surprised when he wrote about his feeling of being alone, of being friendless, a very sorrowful moment in the novel when he believes or feels no one will talk to him on the schoolyard (he's 16) so he pretends to be busy, absorbed in reading - odd because throughout his childhood he's had many friends and even many girlfriends, at least at intervals - he doesn't seem like a loner at all - but then again, all teenagers feel lonely and isolate at times. A strange and sad moment in the book is when a note appears in school from kid who says he's new in school and would like to make friends and anyone who'd like to befriend him please meet him at the flagpole at noon. At noon, there's a crowd at the flagpole - to befriend? to mock and taunt? to observe? - but the anonymous note-writer isn't there. Did he have second thoughts? Was the whole thing a hoax or a joke? KOK of course believes it's aimed at him in some way - maybe all of the kids felt that. He becomes noticed for the first time - or so he feels, we readers wouldn't agree - when the smaller of the two local newspapers takes him on to review indie rock albums - paying him in the form of LPs, which is fine with KOK - it's really quite a coup that he talked his way into this gig, and it's his first chance to experience the life of a writer. His job requires him to get a typewriter; mother suggests he rummage in the family storage room (father has moved out) where dad kept an old typewriter. KOK finds the machine, and also a cache of 20 years worth of porn mags - quite a legacy, and whole new side of the abusive father revealed: what tensions and frustrations and ghosts must that man have lived with? Was KOK the only one abused?

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