Knausgaard’s first book of a six – volume autobiography is a mosaic of utterly real scenes of his childhood and adolescence up until his father’s disturbing death. It is a book about a life told in its most minutiae, from the most mundane to the most disturbing moments, an amalgam of hybrid confessions, self-analysis and fiction, an exploration of the psychological and emotional changes of a boy caused by a strong, cold and judgmental father.
Despite his feelings of inadequacy and instability, the young Karl Ove dreams of doing something special one day. Writing is his way to success.
Writing is drawing the essence of what we know out of the shadows”, he writes. “…Not what happens there, not what actions are played out there, but the there itself. There, that is writing’s location and aim. But how we get there?
For Knausgaard the way to get there is by destroying rather than creating. With a remarkable intensity and raw insight, he is trying to make sense of the emotional wounds of his childhood and escape form the oppressive influence of his father. In a sense, Knausgaard destroys what destroyed him in order to break free.