Amor Fati's picture
Amor Fati from Canada is reading George RR Martin April 15, 2016 - 11:40am

Hey all, 

I'm currently reading the first volume of the world phenomenon. And that's what it really is. I'm not quick to believe the news and hype surrounding a new product; it could just be marketing after all. Until I did a bit of research about this man, and, lo and behold, the man's autobiographical novel-- or is it a fictional confession?-- has tampered with, toyed, and destroyed what we conventionally know as "fiction". In an interview (Knausgaard has been the subject of many a lecture and talk-show since its 2008 release) he said that he considers his novel series 'My Struggle' as in the modernist tradition in the traditional sense of not questioning conventional standards and focusing on the realism. But if you've read the books, you'll know that it's TOO real; I mean, like, hyperreal. The guy goes into excruciating, banal detail about bringing beer to a house party when he was a teenager. He narrates his own story with not an impeccable memory, but some are even considering him to be a genius the likes of a name like Proust (from whom Knausgaard admits to have taken inspiration).

Or, he's just messing with the writing form entirely, is totally screwing with us, and this novel falls right into the post-modern disruption of conventional literary standards.

What do you think?

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like April 15, 2016 - 6:06pm

To start, I've only read the first book, so I guess I didn't enjoy it enough to read it ahead of everything else I'm interested in reading. It was an interesting experience, surprisingly compelling & readable even when sort of dull. To keep that up for however many volumes would be, in its way, a feat.

Also, I've only read a little Proust, and it wasn't part of his big series.

Proust was writing a hundred or more years ago, right? KOK's stuff doesn't really seem "disruptive" to me. (If, in the interim, no one else doing this sort of thing has been as widely successful, then that's due to whatever factors. For so many people to love his books, perhaps he is a genius.) If readers of My Struggle have never before encountered something like it, then I suppose it could be disruptive to them, to their sense of what fiction can be. In one sense, that's not really changing anything; in another sense, it could make more readers open to more sorts of fiction, which could affect things, even if not alter them fundamentally.


Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel April 15, 2016 - 8:35pm

I don't think people can write in a modernist or post-modernist style. They write, and then we ascribe to it a place within our constructed divisions. The modernists weren't writing in a modernist style, per se. They were writing. Only after the fact did we go and see what the writing had in common and find a way to categorize it. 

It seems odd to say, "Oh, this character will be disillusioned by the Great War. This one will attempt to not fit into any category by actively seeking to not be defined." 

Maybe I'm wrong. Well, as soon as I said he didn't then it is even more likely to set up an argument that he did. But that argument would most likely be cherry-picking to make the argument work. 

I think it's just a pet-peeve of mine. I read to many manuscripts where people say that same thing. "I'm writing in the cubist style." "I'm writing in a modernist style." I always figured, you know what, just write, we'll find a way to define you later when we are certain we are no longer in the post-modernist era. It is still in debate. 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated April 16, 2016 - 5:35am

Oh, this character will be disillusioned by the Great War. This one will attempt to not fit into any category by actively seeking to not be defined.

I would read that if someone had the spine to make that the Amazon preview article.