Boyhood Island: My Struggle Book 3
Karl Ove Knausgaard
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‘Rare and Ruthless... Perhaps the most significant literary enterprise of our times’ Guardian
Childhood is exhilarating and terrifying. For the young Karl Ove, new houses, classes and friends are met with manic excitement and creeping dread. Adults occupy godlike positions of power, benevolent in the case of his doting mother, tyrannical in the case of his cruel father.
In the now infamously direct style of the My Struggle cycle, Knausgaard describes a time in which victories and defeats are felt keenly and every attempt at self-definition is frustrated. This is a book about family, memory and how we never become quite what we set out to be.
gravel road that ran around the bay. The grassy hill on the other side was where we usually went skiing in the winter. In the summer and autumn we seldom went there – what was there to do? The bay was shallow and muddy, no good for swimming, the jetty was falling to pieces, and the little island off the coast was covered with shit from the colony of gulls nesting there. When we wandered around there it was mostly because we were at loose ends, like this morning. High above us, between the sloping
tracks. As he had with the hill when we were having dinner. Even though he hadn’t seen anything, only us on our way up, he knew we had been doing something wrong. Had he not been in such a good mood he would have brought everything into the open. I lay on my stomach and started reading a Tempo. It was Yngve’s, he had borrowed it from Jan Atle, I had already read it many times. It was for older kids and for me it had a strong aura of belonging to a distant but utterly radiant world. I didn’t
face, closing my eyes as I did so, and rinsed and dried them and my face on the light-brown towel hanging on my hook. Finished! I pulled the bedroom curtain aside and peered out. The trees in the forest, above which the sun had just risen, cast long, dark shadows over the shimmering tarmac. Then I put on my clothes and went into the kitchen. There was a bowl of cornflakes in my place, with a carton of milk beside it. Dad wasn’t there. Had he gone to his study to get his things together? No.
from a studio in Oslo, with women dressed in net stockings, jackets, and hats and carrying canes, while men in dinner jackets, white scarves, and hats and carrying canes came down a white staircase singing some song or other. Frequently it was “New York, New York.” Sølvi Wang, whom Mom liked, usually was featured. Leif Juster, Arve Opsahl, and Dag Frøland were other regular contributors to Saturday night TV. Wenche Myhre used to perform a sketch playing a young girl in a nursery, or there was the
and thin as ever, appeared at the top of the stairs with her slightly lopsided gait and nervous hand movements, and we marched down to the classroom, where, after hanging up our outdoor clothes on the pegs outside, we at once sat down in our places. “Anne Lisbet’s sick today as well!” someone said. “And Solveig.” “And Vemund.” “And Leif Tore,” Geir said. Then I remembered what had happened the night before. “Vemund’s sick in the head!” Eivind said. “Ha ha ha!” “No, no, no,” Frøken said.