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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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Why Karl Ove Knuasgaard writes My Struggle

Karl Ove Knaiusgaard's life, and his life story, take a turn for the better toward the end of Book 5 of My Struggle, as KOK begins to date a very lovely and sensible young woman, Tanje?, who is one of the interns at the radio station where KOK is working for his year (?) of national service (interesting that national service is required of all Norwegians and, as it appears, it's fairly easy and common to do that service in a nonmilitary setting - imagine how great this would be for the US!). KOK finds himself beside himself with love for this woman, who clearly reciprocates, and they get to know each other very gradually - he's really worried about coming on to her too fast (which ruined at least one of his earlier infatuations) and about saying the wrong thing, speaking awkwardly - in other words, though he's 25, he's still somewhat insecure and immature and he acts like a 15-year-old about to go out on his first serious date. All seems good, we sense this volume, unlike the 4 preceding ones, to end on a positive note for KOK, and then a horrible thing happens: out with T. at a club, along with his brother, Yngve, KOK becomes distraught and withdrawn as Y and T speak amiably, feels excluded, this obviously brings up for him competitive issues with his older brother and recollections of the time Y snatched another girlfriend/infatuation away from him, KOK goes to the men's room and slashes his face with a shard of glass. Horrible and horrifying - and we're reminded again of how fragile he is, how self-destructive and destructive, how dangerous he can be when drunk, to others and himself, and we wonder what help he needs what help he can get - and it again becomes clear that his "struggle" is lifelong and that the act of writing this novel or series of novels is his penance and his salvation, at least for a time.

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