If you’re interested in getting a taste of Knausgaard but don’t fancy committing to 3,600 pages, Boyhood is the perfect choice. It’s the most lyrical of the volumes thus far and easily stands alone. The descriptions of Norwegian childhood and of Karl Ove’s visits to his grandparents in the fiords are nothing short of transporting. Reading this novel is the closest I have ever been to becoming someone else. How does Knausgaard do it! You will also find some gut-wrenching backstory here, about his relationship to his father, which inspired this stunning multi-volume contemporary classic.

My Struggle: Book 3 Cover Image
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, Don Bartlett (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374534165
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 28th, 2015

This novel is one of my all-time favorites. An Austrian cavalry officer makes a faut pas at a party by inviting a crippled girl to dance. Trying to make amends, he gets involved in her family. Then he can’t extract himself. Set before World War I, the story demonstrates how bad judgment and the inability to make firm decisions changes the course of a life. The unwieldy nature of this book is part of its charm. Wes Anderson gave Zweig the nod in Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s an unsung classic, which will utterly capture your heart.

Beware of Pity Cover Image
By Stefan Zweig, Joan Acocella (Introduction by), Phyllis Blewitt (Translated by), Trevor Blewitt (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590172001
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - June 20th, 2006

This sparse dreamlike narrative takes us to 1960’s Paris, where drifters hang out in cafes and sleep in shabby hotels. The narrator attaches himself to an interesting couple, and becomes infatuated with the girl, an attraction that seems one-sided, until they escape to London. A concluding reunion in Paris had me furiously turning pages. Modiano repurposes material again and again in his books. You’ll find a haunting tone, a sense of loss, the notion that identity is malleable. His world is one you’ve never been to before. But you’ll want to revisit it, in his other books. 

Out of the Dark Cover Image
By Patrick Modiano, Jordan Stump (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780803282292
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bison Books - October 1st, 1998