June 18, 2015
A Cold Hand On a Warm Forehead
Much like an athlete preparing for weeks to run a marathon, I’ve been circling around Karl Ove Knausgård’s Min Kamp, a six book series (and thousands of pages) of an autobiographical novel. Every review reminds me of Proust and of how difficult it was to read In Search of Lost Time for the first time (or tenth). That said I think I’m now at an age where I can perhaps better grasp the subtlety of a structure which at first glance feels like there isn’t one at all.
I can’t speak for other writers, but I write to create something that is better than myself, I think that’s the deepest motivation, and it is so because I’m full of self-loathing and shame. Writing doesn’t make me a better person, nor a wiser and happier one, but the writing, the text, the novel, is a creation of something outside of the self, an object, kind of neutralized by the objectivity of literature and form. The temper, the voice, the style. All in it is carefully constructed and controlled. This is writing for me—a cold hand on a warm forehead.
The Paris Review — Completely Without Dignity: An Interview with Karl Ove Knausgård