Typically, I am hesitant to recommend six-volume, two-thousand-plus-page autobiographical novels by Norwegian ex-pats. But there's something about Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle that's hard to resist. The guy has the weird ability to make even the most quotidian of activities absolutely fascinating- buying a sandwich is given the kind of dramatic intensity usually saved for epic battles. It's addictive, strangely adorable stuff. Unfortunately, it's also incomplete, at least in English: the final three volumes of Knausgaard's work have yet to be translated into a language I can read. Which means I'm facing down a "struggle" of my own: do I race through volumes 2 and 3, and then wait around for years for volumes 4, 5, and 6? Or do I pace myself, taking on a volume each year or so, re-reading what I can, slowly soaking in every aspect of My Struggle that's available to me? It's an impossible and absurd place to be but such is the power of Knausgaard.
An autobiographical novel focuses on a young man trying to make sense of his place in the disjointed world that surrounds him.