My Struggle: Book 1

Karl Ove Knausgaard; Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

448 Pages


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A New Yorker Book of the Year

My Struggle: Book One introduces American readers to the audacious, addictive, and profoundly surprising international literary sensation that is the provocative and brilliant six-volume autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It has already been anointed a Proustian masterpiece and is the rare work of dazzling literary originality that is intensely, irresistibly readable. Unafraid of the big issues—death, love, art, fear—and yet committed to the intimate details of life as it is lived, My Struggle is an essential work of contemporary literature.


Praise for My Struggle: Book 1

"The career of the Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard had followed a fairly conventional trajectory . . . But with his latest project, My Struggle, whose title deliberately evokes Hitler's infamous autobiography and political screed, everything has changed. Though My Struggle, a minutely detailed examination of Mr. Knausgaard's family life, has done extremely well in Europe—in Norway, about half a million copies have been sold, the equivalent of one for every ten people—it has also put Mr. Knausgaard (pronounced Kuh-NOWS-guard) squarely at the center of a debate about literary ethics and made him a kind of bad boy of European letters."—Larry Rohter, The New York Times

"Powerfully alive . . . Knausgaard is intense and utterly honest, unafraid to voice universal anxieties . . . 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 . . . There is something ceaselessly compelling about Knausgaard's book."—James Wood, The New Yorker

"[A] brilliant start to a giant autobiographical novel cycle . . . the whole concept is horrendously risky, but on the page Knausgaard transforms this risk into tension of the most outstanding character."—Ingunn Okland, Aftenposten (Norway)

"A fantastic novel . . . I cannot say anything other than that I am looking forward desperately to the rest of it." —Dagsavisen (Norway)

"Painful, touching, honest, and full of insight . . . It's like Knausgaard turns himself inside out and shows that side of himself that no man ever shows to anyone."—Zin (Netherlands)

"This autobiographical novel sneaks up on you and gets under your skin. The forty-three-year-old Norwegian describes his inner battles in a unique and painfully accurate way. What a beautiful novel."—Esta (Netherlands)

"Knausgaard's thinking is magnificently unbridled."—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)

"This is a deeply touching book, free of taboos, its evocative descriptions bombarding the reader with questions."—NDR Kultur (Germany)

"Knausgaard is a remarkable storyteller who, in flashes of memory saturated in emotion, breathes life into the traumas of the past . . . A shockingly good book."—Ekstra Bladet (Denmark)

"The further into this work you get . . . the more it strikes you what a thought-through and devious work this is."—Weekendavisen (Denmark)

"Knausgaard's sharp pen cuts deeply. However, we—those who are not involved—can be nothing but delighted by how masterfully Knausgaard succeeds in creating a work of art out of what is personal and private."—Berlingske (Denmark)

"Certainly, Knausgaard's strength lies in his detailed descriptions of nature and the human psyche. But it is the gravitity and truth occurring between the lines that makes this text authentic and necessary."—WUZ (Italy)

"Knausgaard has thrown himself into an insane project, with a disdain for conventions that only true geniuses are able to obtain . . . My Struggle is a literary victory."—Affaritaliani (Italy)

"Between Proust and the woods . . . Like granite, precise and forceful. More real than reality."—La Repubblica (Italy)

"I can't stop, I want to stop, I can't stop, just one more page, then I will cook dinner, just one more page . . . "—Västerbottens-kuriren (Sweden)

"The vast majority of novels are competently written. Then there are a number that are really good. And finally there are a few that are unnerving, completely engrossing, artistic experiences. Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle is in the final category."—Goteborgs-Posten (Sweden)

Reviews from Goodreads



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For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run toward the body's lowest point,...

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  • Karl Ove Knausgaard; Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett

  • Karl Ove Knausgaard was born in Norway in 1968. My Struggle has won countless international literary awards and has been translated into at least fifteen languages. Knausgaard lives in Sweden with his wife and three children.

  • Karl Ove Knausgaard Asbjørn Jensen




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