My Struggle: Book 2 (Hardcover)
Author: Karl Ove Knausgaard
Translator: Don Bartlett
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2014)
In the second installment of Karl Ove Knausgaard's monumental six-volume masterpiece, the character Karl Ove Knausgaard moves to Stockholm, where, having left his wife, he leads a solitary existence. He strikes up a deep friendship with another exiled Norwegian, a Nietzschean intellectual and boxing fanatic named Geir. He also tracks down Linda, whom he met at a writers' workshop a few years earlier and who fascinated him deeply.
My Struggle: Book 2 is at heart a love story—the story of Karl Ove falling in love with his second wife. But the novel also tells other stories: of becoming a father, of the turbulence of family life, of outrageously unsuccessful attempts at a family vacation, of the emotional strain of birthday parties for children, and of the daily frustrations, rhythms, and distractions of city life keeping him from (and filling) his novel. It is a brilliant work that emphatically delivers on the unlikely promise that many hundreds of pages later readers will be left breathlessly demanding more.
“Intense and vital . . . Where many contemporary writers would reflexively turn to irony, Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties. . . . The need for totality . . . brings superb, lingering, celestial passages . . . He wants us to inhabit the ordinariness of life, which is sometimes visionary, sometimes banal, and sometimes momentous, but all of it perforce ordinary because it happens in the course of a life, and happens, in different forms, to everyone.”
–James Wood, The New Yorker