"[Book 2] sears the reader because Knausgaard is a passionate idealist [who] wants to fight the conformity and homogeneity of modern bourgeois existence." —James Wood, The New Yorker
In the second installment of Karl Ove Knausgaard's monumental six-volume masterpiece, the character Karl Ove Knausgaard moves to Stockholm, where, having left his wife, he leads a solitary existence. He strikes up a deep friendship with another exiled Norwegian, a Nietzschean intellectual and boxing fanatic named Geir. He also tracks down Linda, whom he met at a writers' workshop a few years earlier and who fascinated him deeply.
My Struggle: Book 2 is at heart a love story—the story of Karl Ove falling in love with his second wife. But the novel also tells other stories: of becoming a father, of the turbulence of family life, of outrageously unsuccessful attempts at a family vacation, of the emotional strain of birthday parties for children, and of the daily frustrations, rhythms, and distractions of city life keeping him from (and filling) his novel.
It is a brilliant work that emphatically delivers on the unlikely promise that many hundreds of pages later readers will be left breathlessly demanding more.
About the Author
Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. My Struggle has won countless international literary awards and has been translated into at least fifteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and four children.
Don Bartlett has translated dozens of books of various genres, including several novels and short story collections by Jo Nesbø and It's Fine by Me by Per Petterson. He lives in Norfolk, England.
“Intense and vital . . . Where many contemporary writers would reflexively turn to irony, Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties . . . The need for totality . . . brings superb, lingering, celestial passages . . . He wants us to inhabit he ordinariness of life, which is sometimes visionary, sometimes banal, and sometimes momentous, but all of it perforce ordinary because it happens in the course of a life, and happens, in different forms, to everyone . . .” —James Wood, The New Yorker
“Steadily absorbing, lit up by pages of startling insight and harrowing honesty, My Struggle introduces into world literature a singular character and immerses us in his fascinating Underground Man consciousness.” —Phillip Lopate
“A rope round the neck, a knife in the heart. The book is full of magic. The world simply opens up . . . Knausgaard will have the same status as Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun.” —Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark)
“Ruthless beauty.” —Aftenposten (Norway)
“This first installment of an epic quest should restore jaded readers to life.” —The Independent
“Between Proust and the woods . . . Like granite, precise and forceful. More real than reality.” —La Repubblica (Italy)
“Breathtakingly good.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[Knausgaard's] preternatural facility for description . . . speaks not only to the sheer pleasure his fiction affords, but to the philosophical stakes of that pleasure.” —Mark Sussman, Los Angeles Review of Books