'It's unbelievable... It's completely blown my mind' Zadie Smith
Karl Ove Knausgaard writes about his life with painful honesty. He writes about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and unpredictable father, and his bewilderment and grief on his father’s death.
When Karl Ove becomes a father himself, he must balance the demands of caring for a young family with his determination to write great literature. Knausgaard has created a universal story of the struggles, great and small, that we all face in our lives. A profound and mesmerizing work, written as if the author’s very life were at stake.
Shortlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Award.
Intense and vital…ceaselessly compelling…superb
- New Yorker
A masterpiece... Meticulously detailed, harrowing, oddly beautiful, its depiction of a family’s disintegration is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve read in years
- Observer, Books of the Year
The best book I read this year...full of artistic, moral and technical daring
- Guardian, Books of the Year
This suburban epic, electrifying in candour and eloquence, feels streets ahead of the comparable Jonathan Franzen
- Independent, Books of the Year
- Irish Times, Books of the Year
Karl Ove Knausgård has started something that could turn out a masterpiece in Scandinavian literature with roots in the tradition of the great novels by Marcel Proust, Robert Musil and Thomas Mann...It is impossible not to be thrilled
- Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
A scorchingly honest, unflinchingly frank, hyperreal memoir of the life of one man and his family
Possesses a wide range of traditional literary qualities in great quantity: seriousness, profundity, and intensity. The rumpus it has caused in its homeland Norway aside: If you want to read a book that matters and achieves great things, just get started
- Jyllands-Posten (Denmark)
This first instalment of an epic quest should restore jaded readers to life
As tense as any thriller yet without a jot of sensationalism
Readers will be captured by Karl Ove’s narrative intensity
- Times Literary Supplement
I think this is one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever come across.
- Farm Lane Books (literary blogger)
Makes other books seem spineless afterwards.
- Just William (literary blogger)
Honest, probably unparalleled in its approach and revelations. It will cause you to reflect deeply after you've completed it, which accounts for why it has been so enjoyably debated. I think Knausgaard's memoirs are likely to have a long rippling effect the more widley they are published and read
Knausgaard's thinking is magnificently unbridled, a veritable flood of thoughts. His description of life in all its variety is undaunted and confident.
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)
Between Proust and the woods - allow yourselves to be seduced by a Norwegian life...Like granite; precise and forceful. More real than reality.
- La Repubblica (Italy)
A tremendous piece of literature
- Politiken (Denmark)
This is the first part of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six book mega novel, based on his own life – and if there’s any justice the craze for Nordic noir should mean British readers greet it with open arms...as tense as any thriller yet without a jot of sensationalism.
A rare achievement. No one in his generation equals Karl Ove Knausgaard's combination of talent, style, observational skills and original thinking.
- Dagens Næringsliv (Norway)
Bowled me over... The slow pace of disclosure makes this account of a Norwegian adolescence pulse with intensity
A masterful book that confronts the ordinariness of death. Translator (from Norwegian) Don Bartlett rises to the challenge magnificently
Super Proustian – and also Nick Hornby-esque – novel… It’s great… Beautifully done
- Evening Standard
This is writing so vivid, it seems to alter the pitch of reality