Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses A Death in the Family, which is the first part of My Struggle, his series of memoirs which have a devoted following.
Already a successful novelist in his native Norway, almost ten years ago Knausgaard embarked on a huge project: a first person narrative about his life.
In A Death in the Family he writes with painful honesty about his childhood and teenage years, his infatuation with rock music, his relationship with his loving yet almost invisible mother and his distant and dangerously unpredictable father, and then his bewilderment and grief on his father's death. Becoming a father himself, he has to balance the demands of caring for a young family with his determination to write great literature.
The series is an exploration of the author’s past from which emerges a universal story of the struggles, great and small, that we all face in our lives. Karl Ove Knausgaard writes with honesty about his upbringing, causing ructions in his family. He says he always knew that whatever he wrote, he would have to be able to look his family members in the eye.
My Struggle finally ran to six volumes, and the last one The End, has just been published in the UK. The series became a literary sensation in his native Norway as well as around the world.
Presented by James Naughtie and recorded with a group of invited readers.
Presenter : James Naughtie
Interviewed guest : Karl Ove Knausgaard
Producer : Dymphna Flynn
November's Bookclub choice : The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley (2014)