Ms. Krauss said she read the first book in the series without expectations, and was “absolutely stunned” by its candor and pacing, which both felt “reckless.”
“In order to be free, I needed to write very quickly and get rid of the notion of quality,” Mr. Knausgaard said. At first he was writing five pages a day, then 10 and eventually 20.
He chalked up the interest in the quotidian concerns of “My Struggle” to the transformative power of literature. “If I told you my life story here and now, in this bookstore, you might leave me after 10 or 15 minutes,” he told Ms. Krauss. “It would be unbearable.”
Ms. Krauss said she was “sick of plot and characters and dialogue and scenes and climax and resolution” in traditional novels, and that Mr. Knausgaard had “reinvented and surpassed the form of the novel” through “radical attentiveness.” Mr. Knausgaard said he shared her fatigue with more conventional stories. “Form is, in a way, death,” he said. “A novelist’s obligation is to break free from the form, even though he knows that this will also be seen as artificial and distanced from life.”
Two things stand out to me in this passage. The quote about speeding up his writing to shed his inner censor or editor (my interpretation). Krauss's discussion of how My Struggle is different from other novels, how it sheds form.
I've grown weary of fiction in recent years, and most of the dozen or two dozen books I'm reading at various paces now are almost entirely non-fiction. Of course I've heard much about Knausgaard, who hasn't? But that passage pushed me over the edge and I purchased Book 1 of My Struggle last night.
I'm 11 pages in so far, and while that is close to a precise definition of small sample size, I'm already hooked.