Staff Pick

If you’ve read even one volume of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard, you’ve probably wondered what drives the Norwegian writer’s shameless and exhaustive exploration of personal experience. In his slender Inadvertent (Yale $18), part of Yale’s Why I Write series, Knausgaard provides some thought-provoking and unexpected insights. He starts by talking about his love of reading—from comic books to Ursula Le Guin, Paul Celan, Malarmé, and Tolstoy. He reads to enter something unknown, “so that even without moving I was moving away from myself,” and this is also the impulse that drives him to write.  But—“away” from himself?  While delving so deeply inside his experience? How is that possible? In Inadvertent Knausgaard explores his search for meaning, his need to understand an overbearing father, and his humiliation at writing badly, yet continuing to write anyway (he recounts destroying an early manuscript when a poet he admired told him it wasn’t any good). This engaging little book will undoubtedly appeal to avid readers of Knausgaard but it will also introduce newcomers to his work, and will especially fascinate writers who want to understand the craft of one of the most important authors of our time.

Inadvertent (Why I Write) Cover Image
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, Ingvild Burkey (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780300221510
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Yale University Press - September 4th, 2018

Staff Pick

This sixth most challenging and ambitious volume of My Struggle, begins with the fallout following publication of Book One.  We are then plunged headlong into the nature of self, with juxtapositions between Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the writings of Jack London, Paul Celan, Karl Marx and others – as well as dense commentary on the Old Testament.  The third, harrowing and deeply moving part of this book deals with his wife’s nervous breakdown.  But “Sacrifice is never merely a loss. For something is always gained by sacrifice,” Knausgaard writes about Abraham and Isaac.  He might be writing about himself. “What he gained,” Knausgaard observes, “was the innermost meaning of life.”

My Struggle: Book Six Cover Image
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, Don Bartlett (Translated by), Martin Aitken (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780914671992
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Archipelago - September 18th, 2018

Staff Pick

When Lutheran minister Robert Winter proposes to Emily Dickinson she replies that she fears her muse would balk.  Then the two begin a long correspondence, as he pursues his career as army chaplain, traveling the continent from the Mexican War, to the Mormon Rebellion and the Raid on Harper’s Ferry.  Winter loses his faith, but he encounters various historical figures of the day: Abe Lincoln, a young Sam Clemens, John Wilkes Booth and others.  This beautifully written novel provides a new perspective on the 19th century and it's charming to imagine the character of Emily Dickinson as Norman Lock has written her. 

The Wreckage of Eden (American Novels) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781942658382
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bellevue Literary Press - June 5th, 2018