Karl Ove Knausgård
Writing After ‘My Struggle’
This open-hearted talk with Karl Ove Knausgård is the first and – according to the writer – last about his new project. And about fame and writing from a “total inferno,” the text being the flashlight pointing towards a mountain, leaving most in the darkness. Read more …
Karl Ove Knausgård’s literary mammoth project ‘My Struggle’ ends with a line stating that he will no longer be a writer: “I was very much inspired by Bowie who also ‘killed’ his Ziggy Stardust persona. My thought was that the novel was also a kind of persona that I wanted to let go off … I wanted to stop being a writer in the way that I struggled with in that book,” Knausgård explains. The Norwegian author also reveals the dark side of the picture in regards to his international fame: “The amount of success that I have achieved is very dangerous because it goes to your head.”
“I was tired of introspection, tired of psychology,” says Knausgård, who started writing a letter to his unborn daughter, not knowing it would become a four-volume book project following the seasons. Thus Knausgård moved his attention from the inner world to the outer, which resulted in four volumes of short essays on such things as a toothbrush, sunglasses, and a pail mixed with diary entries about his family and everyday life. Knausgård describes how he wanted to tell his story without ‘using himself’: “In this book, I’m not the main thing; my relations are,” he says, pointing especially to volume three, ‘On Spring’ which he also reads two parts from on stage. The breakdown of his wife is the center of the narrative – “a total inferno,” in Knausgård’s own words, that he nonetheless had to be included because it’s a part of life.
In this interview, Knausgård also reveals two future projects, one following the footsteps of Norwegian artist Edward Munch, the other being ‘pure fiction’ with six characters. On writing after the rise of social media and the ‘age of selfies’, the author states: “I think literature is the opposite of social media because it tries to anchor the self in a reality that is binding. It’s not shallow, it’s about commitment.”
Karl Ove Knausgård (b. 1968) is a Norwegian author, internationally recognized for ‘My Struggle’, a novel in six volumes spanning over 3,000 pages in which the author describes his own life, not least portraying his father who died of alcohol abuse and its consequences for the author, mixed with essayistic prose. Knausgård has received several literary prizes for ‘My Struggle’. His latest project is a four-volume series following the seasons, published throughout Scandinavia in 2015-2016.
Karl Ove Knausgård was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in August 2016.
Cameras: Anders Lindved & Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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