Autumn

  • by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
  • 4 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons.
August 28. Now, as I write this, you know nothing about anything, about what awaits you, the kind of world you will be born into. And I know nothing about you. I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees. You will come to see it in your own way, you will experience things for yourself and live a life of your own, so of course it is primarily for my own sake that I am doing this: Showing you the world, little one, makes my life worth living.
Autumn begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerizing intensity that have become his trademark. He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice - the stuff of everyday life is the fodder for his art. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention. This book is a personal encyclopedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Knausgaard shows us how vast, unknowable, and wondrous the world is.

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Vignettes for an Unborn Daughter

"the form should shape the text but not be conspicuous in itself, what matters are the emotions and thoughts it evokes, while the text itself, to those who discern it, should be as cold and clear as glass."
-- Karl Ove Knausgård, Autumn

Knausgård has published a beautiful (both the HB Penguin press printing and the writing) book. Obviously, one of four. Why start in Autumn? Why not. I'm not sure if this was an idea that came to him one summer and so the obvious time to start was the beginning of the next season. Who knows. But the structure is relatively (and seductively) simple. Knausgård writes every day for three months on a variety of subjects, for example:

Piss
War
Labia
Twilight
Forgiveness
August Sander
Buttons
Pain

These subjects range from specific items or people to general abstractions. These vignettes are the subject. The organizational principle is Knausgård's desire to transmit information, knowledge, a sense of place and understanding to his unborn daughter (his fourth child?). Therefore, each month (September, October, November) also begins with a "Letter to an Unborn Daughter". He wants to show his embryonic child the world as it is now. He wants to describe the beauty, the banality, the NOW. Like his previous "novels" Knausgård world centers on his family. But where his My Struggle cycle began with his father's death and was primarily concerned with history (fictionalized or not), his Seasons cycle (at least so far) seems to be grounded in the present or the future. It is interesting that this cycle starts with the promise of a birth. It is a deft flip and the tone of the book reflects that change.

So far (obviously, I've only read this one) it isn't quite as strong as My Struggle, but it is also nice all by itself. The short 500 - 1000 word chapters focusing on one subject remind me a bit of a blogger or my hit-and-miss attempts to complete 750 words of writing a day. It seems like an writing exercise done by someone who knows how to write.
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- Darwin8u

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-22-2017
  • Publisher: Recorded Books