A Man in Love: My Struggle Book 2 (Anglais) Broché – 4 septembre 2014
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"Punishingly honest record of the triumphs and banalities of his own life" (Tim Martin Telegraph)
"My favourite book of the year… He has the ability to make the small details of his life fascinating" (William Leith Spectator)
"A brutally honest self-examination in what feels like real time" (Justine Jordan Guardian Online)
"Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle is one of the most absorbing literary projects of recent times, one that has seen the Norwegian writer dubbed the Scandinavian Proust" (Stephen Romei Spectator)
"Packed with existential angst and fierce insights" (Big Issue in the North)
"Required reading for new fathers" (Richard Godwin Evening Standard)
"This is a reading experience like no other. Fearless in its truth-telling and as real as life, it is an epic study of what it feels like to be alive" (Carys Davies Metro)
Présentation de l'éditeur
This is a book about leaving your wife and everything you know.
It is about fresh starts, about love, about friendship. It is also about the earth-shattering experience of becoming a father, the mundane struggles of family life, ridiculously unsuccessful holidays, humiliating antenatal music classes, fights with quarrelsome neighbours, the emotional strains of childrens’ birthday parties and pushing a pram around Stockholm when all you really want to do is write.
This is a book about one man’s life but, somehow, about everyone else’s too.
A Man in Love, the second book of six in the My Struggle cycle, sees Knausgaard write of tempestuous relationships, the trials of parenthood and an urge to create great art. His singular insight and exhilarating honesty must be read to be believed.
Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014.
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But the tension is dramatic. Many of us live with a kind of tension in our lives, especially if we're given to be the more creative, introverted and sensitive sort of person. This everyday tension makes it feel real and oddly important, without cataclysm or climax. Life is made up of a connection of nearly random details that may finally create change--and in Knausgaard you are aware of this build up, you may feel a sort of dread of the change and you are drawn into its drama.
His book is personal, profound and quotidian; it is also a journal rather than a true novel. The author shares his disrespect for fictional writing and documentary narrative, both of which, he contends, have no value. Instead, he argues that diaries and essays confer meaning because they consist of "the voice of your own personality, a life, a face, a gaze you could meet."
The author's gaze in My Struggle looks upon the details of daily life and uses them to illuminate the larger themes of love, friendship, marriage, parenthood, Swedish versus Norwegian lifestyle, art and the act of creation, mortality and how to prepare meals for toddlers. The strongest part of the book is in the opening 200 pages in which Karl Ove acts as husband and father; loving both roles but struggling greatly in the daily acts that make those roles a reality. He experiences feelings of helplessness and anger in a painful visit to Fairy Tale Land. His loss of masculine self-image is felt when he cannot get his wife out of a locked bathroom at a party. A pitiful effort to maintain space from other people as he reads in a coffee shop displays his feelings of alienation. The inability to resolve conflict in a civilized Swedish environment is obvious in a conflict with a neighbor over loud music. The pressure to spend time with people whose only relationship to him is that their children know each other is developed in a scene at a child's birthday party. In sum, these feelings that there is a more authentic life from which Knausgaard has been outcast culminate in his attendance with his child at Rhythm Time class. As he is forced to sing with other parents, Karl Ove thinks, "I had forfeited everything that was me."
There are brilliant passages in My Struggle as well as long sections when the reader must bear with the author's gaze at the details of non-events. The latter inform the former, however, and most often reward the patient reader.
Knausgaard is sincere in his struggle and realizes that indifference is the greatest of the seven deadly sins "because it is the only one that sins against life." His journal recognizes the need to somehow both surmount and enjoy the quotidian, while maintaining touch with the ideal. The reader who joins the author in his struggle is rewarded by a journal elevated to the level of art. For, asks the author, "What is a work of art if not the gaze of another person?..You meet it's gaze alone."
I only hope that the difficulties of the form do not give this work too limited an audience. This book is not an easy read, but the effort made to comprehend it is very rewarding. Knausgaard switches quickly from scene to scene, goes back and forth in time, and zooms in and out on particular characters and motifs. You have to focus and pay close attention or you can easily get lost.
Coupled with that is his amazing descriptive power. The author has a telling eye for detail. Whether it is a meal, a walk through downtown Stockholm, the living area of someone's apartment, he gets it all right in precise, deftly realized detail. The reader feels that he is there. While the form is hardly "realistic" in the conventional sense, the description is as naturalistic as anything Zola or a writer of that stripe would have offered. It all seems accurate as well. Having been to Stockholm a number of times, this reviewer can vouch for the accuracy of the rendering of the locale where most of the book is set. The streets are accurately named and placed. I have shopped in the bookstore that Karl Ove frequents in the downtown shopping center, Stureplan, on Birger Jarlsgatan. It is all there.
But these things, as well done as they are, are mere parlor tricks compared to the feat Knausgaard has pulled off in portraying the characters psychologically. I don't think the title does the book justice. It is not just about a man in love, it is about a man growing into maturity, meeting and falling in love with (yes), the woman with whom he has three children, and taking more and more responsibility for himself as he actualizes himself as a father, husband and writer. Karl Ove and Linda, the wife, are imperfect human beings, but so lovingly and accurately rendered. We see playing out here exactly what Karl Ove tells us his struggle is: to connect meaningfully with the world and the people around him even while he has a strong tug in the other direction, towards introversion and self-involvement. And as the book progresses, Karl Ove realizes and helps us realize just what he is becoming as a responsible, although always imperfect human being.
Toward the end of the book, Karl Ove opines that in showing us himself and in our knowing him we can come to know ourselves and the world around us. As I said in reviewing Volume 1 of My Struggle, this reminds me of Montaigne, the Renaissance essayist. That is what he did, ever so expertly, and Knausgaard does it as well.
This is not Proust. We are not sitting around sipping tea and savoring the taste of madeleines. Nor are we in search of lost time or time past. We are at a New Year's dinner party, or in Pelikanen, here and now, the Stockholm bar and restaurant that Karl Ove and Geir, his pal, frequent, working out just who they and we are and who we and they want to be as we go down the road of life, into the future.
A bonus: Karl Ove throws in his insights on Dostoevsky, on the Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge, on Holderlin and a host of other writers. It is rewarding and educational. I have added to my must read list. You will too.
This is an amazing achievement. I recommend it wholeheartedly.