*My Struggle: Book One*, by Karl Knausgaard

Imagine a Norwegian Proust, albeit more concrete and with less repetition.  The Amazon link is here, and you will notice that all nine Amazon reviews give it five stars.  Here is a James Wood review from The New Yorker.  Here is Wikipedia on the author.  Here is a good blog review.  Note this is only one out of six volumes, from Norway.

I would put this among the greatest Continental novels of the last fifty years and not at the bottom of that tier.  It is not often that one discovers such books.

Comments

Thanks! The trouble with Amazon.com 'all five star ratings': I've noticed the classics don't get five stars (check this out yourself--any of the top greatest novels of all time rarely will get as many positive ratings as a routine Anne Rice romance), and the 'all five star' ratings are usually friends of the author or shills. Case in point: this chess book has nearly all five stars from 75 reviewers. Do you really think it's one of the best chess books of all time? http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Tournaments-Juniors-Robert-Snyder/dp/0812936353/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top (PS--the author was later pleaded guilty of sex crimes against a minor).

Roman Polanski also committed sex crimes against a child but it doesn't alter the fact that he is one of the greatest film directors of all time. Ergo: So what is a chess book is written by someone who is flawed.

You fell into my trap. You commented on the last point I made and ignored the other points. This is a common rhetorical pitfall. Check and mate. ;-)

Hardly. You made a non sequitur and he pointed it out.

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It's a comment on a blog post, not a college debate tournament.

Chris Purnell commented on the part he wanted to comment on. Perhaps neither he nor I can judge whether it is one of the best chess books of all time.

Friends review friends favorably. Probably worse on Amazon, but hardly news.

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Counterfactual: Kristin Lavransdatter. Continuously in print for 90 years, 4 1/2 stars (http://is.gd/3OYCEr). Read the negative reviews. It gives me hope for humanity's future to read such ignorance publicly displayed. Surely we can make progress from here!

Full disclosure: I'm a finance professional who is most optimistic when prices are low and public gloom abounds.

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My Struggle? Who thought that would be a good title?

You have to wait until the sixth volume to find out. That's after 2500 pages...

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it worked for "mein kampf"

That's the joke.

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When will the German translation be available?

Will they release it as "Mein Kampf"? That would run afoul of EU censors.

Nein,das ist "Meine Kaempfe" auf Deutsch.

No, literal translation is "Mein Kampf". I guess Knausgaard chose it deliberatly. The title of the German translation is "Sterben" (to die, dying).

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Sure, but when I finish it, I won't be able to tell anyone I've read Proust.

I read Proust once, but I don't remember it.

Proust did.

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sounds horrible

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Nit-picking: Knausgaard is a great writer, but we Scandinavians are not Continental so his novel can hardly be a great Continental novel.

You are an Island?

Technically a peninsula, but in practice yes vis-a-vis people on the continent.

The "continent" is basically a star fish, with a peninsula in Iberia, in Italy, in Greece, in Denmark, and Britain (Doggerland will never be forgotten!) and, no offense, Scandinavia.

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Damn thing not in Kindle store in Canada.... Does anyone know a workaround?

Buy a print copy?

They have printed versions of eBooks now?

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Amazing! I love this man. I wish I could see more. He is such an incredible aritst and craftsman. Drew, if you have any of him smiling I would like to get one printed for my wall collage.

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May not be relevant here, but the 1st Amazon reviews of a book are ususally people who are already fans and it's not at all uncommon for a book to have a 5 star rating for the 1st 10 or so reviews but eventually drop and stettle to a 3.5 or 4. I've seen this over and over so I usually ignore the initial average of the ratings until they get around 20 reviews or so.

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Anecdotally I find that a not-insignificant number of 5* and 1* Amazon reviews are content free, "this totally sucks" or "this is the best book/record/whatever in the history of humanity." Reviewers who give a middle rating seem to at least provide some explanation. Nonetheless the wheat:chaff ratio in Amazon ratings is not particularly good, and the "helpful" votes, while... um, helpful, are at best an imperfect measure.

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Are Scandanavian (rather, Danish) relationships more dysfunctional and darker than the rest of the world or do they only make movies that make it seem so?

e.g. Festen, Adams æbler, Italiensk for begyndere, Die grünen Schlachter etc.

It's Scand*i*navian (sorry).

I have a silly theory: the Danish see themselves as very happy (they often top lists of the happiest people on Earth) which is why directors like to shoot miserable movies - to taunt the smug Danish Everyman and just because it is interesting to look at the dark side of things. Similarly, other Scandinavian countries seem to produce mostly depressive movies, and the same is true for Austria. They (we) are perhaps a bit too smug and comfortable for our own good.

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Wait, does this mean Tyler recently just read this guy? Along with all the other books he says he's recently been reading? Doesn't he also have a day job? ... how??

Hyperlexia. I'm serious. Tyler will read an entire article in the time it takes you to read the headline.

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