‘Some Rain Must Fall’, by Karl Ove Knausgaard

535b686b-2e5a-4820-bc1d-167ff04f1dbbLaurence Scott at The Financial Times:

In a recent interview, the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard said that “a [romantic] relationship is based on lies and lies and lies . . . If you don’t lie it collapses.” His relationship with his readers, on the surface at least, depends on an opposite pact: that he will lie about nothing.

Knausgaard’s intensely autobiographical six-novel cycle, My Struggle, has become a literary monument to the aesthetic value of tactlessness. Across its thousands of pages he explores his feelings towards his loved ones with brutal candour. This commitment to the truth not only challenges the mutual illusions of family life, but also deprives his prose of the traditional novel’s formal excitements: narrative pace, suspense, symbolism. Most of our days are not, in reality, the stuff of page-turners. His characters walk around nude, stripped of all their novelistic vestments; their only meaning comes from the fact that Knausgaard has experienced them. And yet, the charisma of these books, a combination of critical acclaim, commercial success and the strange brilliance of their form, has made being hypnotised by their extensive descriptions of ordinary Norwegian life a sort of cultural obligation.

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