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Publisher's Summary

The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event's keynote speaker.

In Inadvertent, internationally best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgaard reveals his beginnings as a writer and his literary influences, as well as his creative development and his struggles. But this audiobook is more than a window into the writer's frame of mind. It's also a glimmering meditation on literature and creativity - on its limitations and its freedoms. 

From Jorge Luis Borges to Edvard Munch, the audiobook explores Knausgaard's relationship to art that's moved him and how that art situates itself in our culture. The audiobook is both biographical and philosophical and raises as many questions as it provides answers.

©2018 Karl Ove Knausgaard (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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I write because I want to open the world

Thoughts are the enemy of the inadvertent, for if one thinks about how something will seem to others, if one thinks about if something is important or good enough, if one begins to calculate or pretend, then it is no longer inadvertent and accessable as itself, but only as what we have made it into.
- Karl Ove Knausgaard, Inadvertent

The second book published in the Windam-Campbell and Yale Press series 'Why I Write'. This short book is the lecture Knausgaard gave at the 2017 Windam-Campbell Prize ceremony at Yale. Knausgaard reflects on why he writes and his approach to writing. He travels a lot of the same ground he has traveled in his fiction, auto-biographical fiction, and his writing about art. He describes his motivations, inspiriations, frustrations, and theories of literature, art, life, form, and writing.

Some of my favorite gems from this book:

Literature is not primarily a place for truths, it is the space where truths play out (pg 2).

That is what writing is: creating a space in which something can be said (pg 3).

All language casts a shadow, and that shadow can be more or less apprehended, but never quite controlled (pg 13).

Writing is about making something accessable, allowing something to reveal itself (pg 27).

This is because I have hit upon it inadvertently, or it has to hit upon me. It is one thing to know somehthing, another to write about it and often knowing stands in the way of writing (pg 40).

Yes, I write because I want to open the world. (pg 46).

What we seek in art is meaning. The meaningful carries an obligation. With obligation comes consequences. (pg 65).

This was what I had been longing for. This was writing. To lose sight of yourself, and yet to use yourself, or that part of yourself that was beyond the control of your ego. And then to see something foreign appear on the page in front of you. (pg 81).

9 people found this helpful

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From Frustration to Understanding

In this Speech presented as an Essay, Knausgaard traces his journey to becoming a Writer through his analysis of the works of writers and artists from Munch and Van Gogh through Mallarmé and Borges to Tolstoy and Turgenev. He relates his years of failure and frustration, trying to understand why he wants to write and what the purpose of writing actually is.

Whether he at last comes to a successful understanding of the goal of writing will be best left to the reader, but his story rings true and reflects the experience of anyone who sets out to create and, who, after suffering the slings and arrows of Life’s struggles, ultimately comes to some form of resolution. Definitely worth the brief time you’ll spend in his company. I recommend it. Four Stars.

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Extraordinary

I’ve never before heard the deep process of writing described more eloquently. I stumbled across the audio of this short book, this essay/speech, and was mesmerized by its words. I also want to give a big bravo to the narrator, who is one of my favorites. I’m now going purchase the print version because I want to re-read and reflect further on this book. Really excellent!