My Struggle : Book 1 A Death in the Family By Karl Ove Knausgaard is the first book of a six volume memoir written in Norwegian and translated into English by Don Bartlett. Knausgaard has become a sensation all over Europe and since the first three volumes of My Struggle have been translated into English his notoriety is spreading in North America. The critics have given this work rave reviews and it is considered an important piece of contemporary literature.
One of our staff says while it is a novel, she had to keep reminding herself that this was a chronicle of real events. Volume 1 focuses on the author’s relationship with his father and events connected to his life and death. The moments from a life are often ordinary events, although some are extraordinary. It is the very personal experience of these moments that we are reading about, and the author gives them a vividness that is hard to describe. The effect of this book is one of being inside someone else’s mind.
Attempts to deal with the circumstances of living; to try to make sense of emotions; and to find meaning within the mundane are universal themes that cross the divide of nationality, gender and age.