Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood island Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Norwegian fiction

Original title – Min Kamp Tredje Bok

Translator – Don Bartlett

Source – Library


“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!

J M Barrie the writer of Peter Pan


Well book two is on the IFFP shortlist of Karl Ove Knausgaard six book collection My struggle and in the time it was longlist and shortlist Book three of the collection has come out in hardback .I have already read books one and two  and have loved a both of them so was excited to get to the halfway point (well not really in terms of pages as the next few books are longer ) .

We moved there in the summer of 1970 , when most of the houses on the site were still being built .The shrill warning siren ,which sounded before and explosion was a common feature of my childhood , and that very distinctive feeling of doom you can experience when shock waves from the explosion ripple through the ground causing the house to tremble was common too .

The house the Knaugaard family moved to on the Island .

So Boyhood island like the previous books is a fictionalized account of the life of Karl Ove Knausgaard ,so far we have seen his relationship with his father ,late teen years and the struggling start as a writer and young father .Now on book three we dive back to his earlier childhood a seventies Norway  we see Karl Ove ‘s school years unfold as he lives with his family in a series of places and small islands were his family settled .Karl Ove making friends ,seeing his parents change ,observing there relationship as a child in hindsight watching them argue .This is really a normal childhood made into high art every little piece of his childhood is taken apart what he ate ,what he watch , the early discovery of books , a love of comics etc etc . We do see what made the man but also what it was to be a child in the seventies in Norway .

The disagreements never lasted long, a few hours later I was playing with them again if I wanted , but there was something awry .I was finding myself in situations with my back against the wall more and more often ,the others were moving away more and more often when I approached , even Geir ,in fact ,on occasion I realised they were actually hiding from me .

Trouble at times Karl Ove struggled at times  with his temper .

Now I must say this one of the three actually is the book I have like least ,still with Karl Ove great style of writing but something feels more forced about this one maybe to many facts ,I felt as though he’d maybe tried to hard to remember his childhood and maybe like we all do is remember the parts around our childhood , in my case the spangles , jackanoary , having snails in my pockets ,childhood fights with my younger brother , playing with my younger brother as we made things out of lego .This is what we get here ,underneath is parts we have seen in the other books hints of troubles ahead between Karl Ove and his father .It didn’t quite click the writers voice in this just isn’t child like enough at times ,not that it is bad now there is still those flourishes of description that for me is his real strength to carry the everyday into something more than the everyday to us the reader is a rare talent .Will I be reading on of course so I will count down the days until vol four arrives with us this time next year .

Have you got this far with Karl Ove ?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jacquiwine
    May 14, 2014 @ 17:09:45

    I joined the Knausgaard train at stop 2 with ‘A Man in Love’, which I found very compelling, so much so I’m now keen to read the first volume.

    It’s interesting to hear you say his writing feels a little more forced in this one. Perhaps ‘Boyhood’ is not the strongest of the books, but an important element in the overall view of his life?


  2. cleopatralovesbooks
    May 14, 2014 @ 21:01:17

    I love your review, it is sad that you didn’t like this one quite as much as the previous two – What happened to spangles?


  3. Dina
    May 15, 2014 @ 08:07:58

    Altogether I enjoyed his books very much, the quality may go a little up and down…. 🙂


  4. Tony
    May 15, 2014 @ 09:04:00

    I’ll be reading this, but (like you) I don’t expect to like it as much – his adult dilemmas are what make the books fascinating.


  5. Judith
    May 18, 2014 @ 21:17:10

    A few Saturdays ago, on a particularly rainy Saturday, I dug into My Struggle or Volume I. I would love to read more, and, considering Knausgaard’s adolescence is included in Vol. 1, I’m very interested to read Boyhood Island. These volumes are a commitment, however, and I’m at my busiest at the moment, but he is definitely an important white blob on my radar!
    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)


  6. Claire 'Word by Word'
    May 19, 2014 @ 19:00:25

    Interesting, I read somewhere that some call this one his masterpiece, maybe it’s a good place for me to start after all, I hate starting with the best, I prefer a build up.


  7. Trackback: Independent foreign fiction prize longlist 2015 | Winstonsdad's Blog

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May 2014


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