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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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sorrow of the young Knausgaard in Book 5 of My Struggle

As hinted and noted in previous post, Karl Ove Knausgaard's brother, Yngve, double-crosses him and begins dating the young woman whom KOK has been pursuing for months (Ingvild). It's a pretty good scene when Y tells KOK, as they are walking in the rain (a constant throughout book 5 of My Struggle) near their grandparents' farmhouse that he is now "seeing" Ingvild. KOK had anticipated this but he is still humiliated and angry and vows never to speak again to Yngve. (Of course we know he does not keep his vows as we have seen their relationship in many stages in the first 4 volumes - tho there is always an edge to their fraternal relations, an edge sharpened by this incident.) In fact, KOK gives in and resumes talking with Yngve pretty quickly - with much less bitterness and anger than I would have suspected. These wound usually cut very deep and last a long time. In an odd scene, Ingvild comes to KOKs apartment to talk about things - he had been waiting for her to do so for a long time, and it was during this stubborn phase that he lost her to his brother - and he very awkwardly - once again, we can see the he is far too immature for her, though he cannot see this, at the time - tries to get her to stay, have a cup of tea (in his almost slapstick nervousness he bumbles at making the tea, just as he had bumbled at trying to have sex with her the first and only time they went out on a date) and then reads her a very long, dark, death-obsessed poem by Celan - drinking black milk at dawn, and so forth - that she listens to with polite agitation. In other words, he has no idea how to behave around a woman whom he thinks he loves - he gets nervous, then gets drunk, then things get worse. My thoughts in yesterday's post still hold: that he is in fact on some level relieved not to have to try to make a mature relationship work out over the course of time, and he also seems to wallow in the humiliation and abasement - no one would want him, no one can love him, no one can understand him - in other words, fairly typical lamentations from a young, sensitive, creative young man who is struggling to express his inchoate ideas in his writing - and who in maturity will find writing variously therapeutic, purgative, and essential.

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