Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Karl Ove Knausgaard: by taking the old repetitive elements of life he opens our eyes to their unexpected yet remarkable qualities
Karl Ove Knausgaard
Halfway through Autumn its author, Karl Ove Knausgaard, expresses his disbelief that we aren’t “more expectant” when we turn a corner in a city. “After all,” he continues, “anything may await us there”. One has to wonder after reading his book, a letter of sorts to his unborn child, why we aren’t more expectant in every aspect of our lives. Taking the old repetitive elements of life, Knausgaard’s detailed observations open our eyes to their unexpected yet remarkable qualities.
This exercise, however, doesn’t appear to be an unselfish one. The process feels like it was cathartic for Knausgaard. The days before a child are born are precarious and full of uncertainty. In between describing the world his child is about to be born into, stories about his own parents, especially his deceased father, slip into his vivid descriptions. Whittling little aspects of the world down to a page or two of prose appears to be the author’s way of guiding his own thoughts and feelings, as a father and someone’s son, through this time.