The big questions in life

DrThe Norwegian writer Carl of Knausgaard wrote a novel. This is notable in his case, because Knausgård has not written any works of fiction for many years and his main work is the six-volume Mein Kampf autobiographical project. This made him one of Norway’s most famous contemporary authors. Literaturhaus Frankfurt organized the reading of Knausgård in the play, and the rows of seats, which were almost completely occupied after Corona restrictions were lifted, show the author’s popularity in this country as well.

Knossgaard’s books can by no means be called entertaining, and in conversation with Andreas Plathaus, head of the literary department at FAZ, he seemed as serious and thoughtful as one would expect from his literary works. When asked about the topic of his novel, the author answered: “The big questions of life from the point of view of the young.” In other words, for what is less than God and Satan, good and evil, death and the question of the meaning of life. Although the novel is not autobiographical, nine characters are constantly spoken in first person in 900 pages, and in excerpts given by Christoph Potthoff one thinks one can hear Knusgaard’s voice and his own tone over and over again.

Horror, fantasy and psychological thriller

Der Morgenstern’s novel, which, as Knausgård revealed, is the beginning of a multi-part cycle of works, set in contemporary Norway. The story revolves around a world in which strange and sometimes supernatural phenomena are observed. He attracted the “side of fantasy” when writing, and while he doesn’t think in terms of genre at all, the novel can certainly be read as a “gothic novel”, a gothic novel in which horror, fantasy, and psyche. Thriller films are combined. This tangle can be seen impressively in the read-aloud clip of a brain-dead person suddenly beginning to live again while doctors remove his organs.

However, Knossgaard never dealt with narrative elements in a humorous or satirical postmodern manner. The threats he describes, the fears of the heroes in the face of a star shining in the sky and many other inexplicable events lie behind in-depth philosophical questions. The closeness to German literature, romance, Nietzsche and Holderlin, which Knausgaard called “sacred”, has nothing to do with Germany. His love comes more from the fact that he has always felt connected to these authors.

This also applies to Russia, which played an important role in his last book, which has just been completed. That is why he spent a year researching and immersing himself in the great Russian literature. He admits: “I love Russian culture,” but he prefers not to talk about it anymore. His light voice shows how much Karl Ove Knausgård is suffering from the current situation.

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