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  • Writer's pictureCharles Arrowsmith

Review: The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard (LA Times)

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Perhaps it’s a coincidence that Karl Ove Knausgaard’s new novel ends on page 666, but don’t bet on it. “The Morning Star” finds the bestselling Norwegian author in strange and unsettling new territory. At first, it seems familiar: As in his great six-volume autobiographical novel, “My Struggle,” major subjects include bourgeois anxiety and malaise, the stock-in-trade of middlebrow fiction. This time, however, we see them through a glass darkly, and as the pages turn, “The Morning Star” reveals itself to be the evil twin of “My Struggle.” It’s an uncanny, polyphonous, diabolical work that gives Knausgaard’s brand of banal realism a mythical-fantastical twist.

The action takes place over two late-summer days around Bergen, Norway. It’s “hot as hell”; lawns are “yellow and parched”; catastrophe feels imminent. Arne’s artist wife Tove is having a psychotic break; Kathrine, a priest, is questioning her tepid marriage; Turid, a nurse, works nights on a psychiatric ward while her unfaithful husband, Jostein, drinks and rails against an unfair world. Knausgaard’s nine narrators are all working through something: alcoholism, career disappointment, crises of faith and despair.

For the review in full, visit The Los Angeles Times.

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