Eighteen years old and fresh out of high school, Karl Ove Knausgaard moves to a tiny fisherman's village far north of the polar circle to work as a schoolteacher. He has no interest in the job itself - or in any other job for that matter. His intention is to save up enough money to travel while finding the space and time to start his writing career. Initially everything looks fine: He writes his first few short stories, finds himself accepted by the hospitable locals, and receives flattering attention from several beautiful local girls. But then, as the darkness of the long polar nights start to cover the beautiful landscape, Karl Ove's life also takes a darker turn.
The stories he writes tend to repeat themselves, his drinking escalates and causes some disturbing blackouts, his repeated attempts at losing his virginity end in humiliation and shame, and to his own distress he also develops romantic feelings toward one of his 13-year-old students. Along the way there are flashbacks to his high school years and the roots of his current problems. And then there is the shadow of his father, whose sharply increasing alcohol consumption serves as an ominous backdrop to Karl Ove's own lifestyle.
©2010 Karl Ove Knausgaard (P)2015 Recorded Books
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"But there was something about the darkness. There was something about this small, enclosed place. There was something about seeing the same faces every day. My class. My colleagues. The assistant at the shop. The occasional mother, the occasional father. Now and then the young fishermen. But always the same people, always the same atmosphere. The snow, the darkness, the harsh light inside the school."
- Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle: Book 4
Book four of Knausgård's literary six-pack centers on Karl Ove teaching at a small, remote school in Håfjord Norway. This isn't a simple narrative, so it jumps back to periods with both his mother, his brother, and his family. It also allows Karl Ove time to wallow in the premature ejaculations of his youth. At once, this is a novel about a young man working out who he is as an artist, a man, and a member of his family. He has gained some independence, but doesn't always use this independence wisely. He has started to publish musical reviews his last year in gymnasium and takes a job in Håfjord to save up money so he can later tour Europe. He struggles with girls. Like most men of 18, Karl Ove is super-focused on getting in the pants of the opposite sex, but circumstance, his own lack of control, and sometimes his own unwillingness to compromise makes this journey a long one for him.
Not my favorite book of the series, so far, but still an interesting one. This novel is both a Bildungsroman and a Künstlerroman of sorts. I would probably point to this novel as being primarily a coming of age novel (so Bildungsroman) and it sounds like the next book will focus more on his attempts at publishing his first novel (so Künstlerroman?), but since Knausgård jumps around and the boundaries between the books in this work are often arbitrary, I'm not too concerned with labeling. I enjoy how Karl Ove focuses on the darkness and claustrophobia of the place:
"I had always liked darkness. When I was small I was afraid of it if I was alone, but when I was with other I loved it and the change to the world it brought. Running around in the forest or between houses was different in the darkness, the world was enchanted, and we, we were breathless adventurers with blinking eyes and pounding hearts.
When I was older there was little I liked better than to stay up at night, the silence and the darkness had an allure, they carreid the promise of something immense. And autumn was my favorite season, wandering along the road by the river in the dark and the rain, not much could beat that.
But this darkness was different. This darkness rendered everything lifeless. It was static, it was the same whether you were awake or asleep, and it became harder and harder to motivate yourself to get up in the morning."
- Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle: Book 4
The saga continues ..
The most truly amazing, articulated every thought that occupied every male teen .. Sex sex sex, penetration, friends , life and alcohol and more and more .. Real life coming of age
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