The Knausgaard Effect by Diksha Basu


Mourn not yet the death of bookshops and literature—a Norwegian writer, now living in Sweden, is a surprising, relieving phenomenon that is sweeping the world: The Outlook

Karl Ove KnausgaardRecently, Karl Ove Knausgaard was doing a question and answer session at McNally Jackson, a popular bookshop in downtown Manhattan. The free event was scheduled to begin at 7PM but by 4PM, the line to get in was already starting to form outside the bookshop. The space quickly filled up and several people were turned away from the event. While many are busy bemoaning the death of bookshops and literature, Knausgaard is a surprising, relieving phenomenon that is sweeping the world.

For the as yet uninitiated, Knausgaard is, in a nutshell, a ruggedly handsome 46-year-old Norwegian writer, now living in Sweden, who has written an epic six-volume autobiographical novel, called My Struggle (in English. The Norwegian title is Min Kamp, which translates to the same as Hitler’s Mein Kampf.), which comes in at over 3,500 pages. The books are called “novels” in Norway but Archipelago Books, the American publisher, removed that word. The founder of the publishing house says, “I feel that ‘the project’ dwells comfortably between (and embraces both) fiction and memoir. (Aren’t they always inextricably entwined?) Why try to define or label the work?”

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