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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, June 2, 2015

Two things to like about Karl Ove Knausgaard

Two nice things about Karl Ove Knausgaard late now in volume 4 of My Struggle: first, though we know he did not choose this course in life it seems as if he could have been a very good teacher - by his accounts of his first months in the job in the small school in northern Norway, he seems to be very good with the kids, imaginative in his teaching techniques, supportive of the small and young, and able to think quickly and handle difficult discipline situations. Yes, he over-reacts in sending a misbehaving child home (something that would not happen in the U.S.), but when his supervisor has him call the mother to explain he does so very well. He's so young to take on this job, but I think he could have matured into the work, had he wanted to. Second, it's great to see that even from such an early age - 18 and just out of high school - he's extremely serious about his writing: despite all the drinking, the sex (most of it fumbled and frustrating, welcome to the teenage years), the partying, he seems always to set aside time for writing, which he takes very seriously - working on his style by emulating his literary heroes, revising, getting rid of weak material, seeking comment - all necessary for maturation as a writer. (He doesn't seem able to get good commentary, however - that will come later when he makes more literary contacts in larger communities, I think.) Though at times KOK is an unlikable narrator in his teenage years - who isn't really? The great thing about this six-volume series is that we see him confront his demons and we follow the life course of a suffering, sometimes weak, sometimes cruel young man who grows in spirit and stature to the point where he's a fine writer composing the very words we are reading. Art catches up to life.

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