Penguin Pr. Aug. 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780399563300. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399563317. LIT
This book by Knausgaard (My Struggle), the first in a four-part series, has the author shifting his focus from the mundane events of his life that made up his earlier work to the objects in the world around him. Written in the form of a letter to his unborn daughter, this book hopes to show her the world she will soon inhabit. The objects described vary from material items (apples, beds, vomit, gum) to the abstract (loneliness, forgiveness, experience). Throughout, the author highlights how certain articles blur the line between the internal and external. For example, he discusses certain fruits, such as oranges, as having a thick skin separating the inside from the outside and how when eating an orange we must first work to remove the skin. Apples, however, have thin, edible skin. Thus, the boundary between the internal and external is diminished in an apple. The focus on internal and external worlds is primarily what connects the items throughout the book. While the subject matter is banal, the attention given to each item, and the insights gleaned from such attention are fascinating.
VERDICT Fans of Knausgaard's earlier books as well as anyone with an interest in creative nonfiction should be satisfied. [See Prepub Alert, 2/13/17.]
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