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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Book Review: "Boyhood Island" by Karl Ove Knausgård

Karl Ove Knausgård has been established as a literary phenomenon in the UK, following the translation of the third volume in his epic six volume memoir. I reviewed the first book here and the second book here.

In this latest offering, we return to Knausgård's childhood, exploring his life from his first day at school through to the moment when his family decided to move away. The young boy presented in the novel is one who is deeply sensitive, a fact which plagues him as his Father is quick to rebuke. We experience the sheer thrill of a young boy desperate to start swimming lessons, searching for porn magazines with his adolescent friends, and falling in love for the first time. Without meaning to be, it is a nostalgic novel as it forces each reader to think on their own childhood.

It's difficult to explain precisely what is so compelling about Knausgård's writing to those unfamiliar with it. I would recommend his work to everyone as it is so unique in the detailed portrait of a life which it serves up. As a writer, he captures many of the small details of the everyday, and explores the complicated nature of family relationships. Maybe it works because it is easy to relate to, or perhaps because it is such an intimate view into the mind of another human being? 

Regardless, he has won his place as a firm favourite in my mind and I'm desperate to hear him read live.

Buy the book: Boyhood Island (My Struggle 3)

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