Chat hot sweden
This fall we published Ben Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet.
Though he says the opposite, his English is excellent, but there were two words I used that he didn’t know: placid (crucial because he grew up in a placid country, but in a home that was anything but); and , which had just published his review of Michel Houellebecq’s Submission.
(Our meeting occurred before the attacks in Paris.) We walked east a few blocks and up to 44th Street for a drink at the Blue Bar of the Algonquin Hotel.
I’ve been told that I’m a laconic interlocutor and in this Knausgaard was more than my match; on the recording of our conversation, the long pauses are filled with Sinatra songs playing from the bar’s speakers.
What follows has been edited and condensed, omitting our discussion of Houellebecq and Lars von Trier (he gently scolded me for not having seen The Idiots); of his eldest daughter, who hasn’t read his books but is beginning to write herself (“She doesn’t yet know that it’s difficult”); of his recent trip to Albania and my Albanian heritage (“You must go back to Albania; it is Europe but it is not Europe”); and of the Boston bands I grew up listening to (about which he was curious — “Great bands,” he said).
Like most Norwegian schoolchildren of his generation, Karl Ove Knausgaard started learning English at the age of 10.
As I walked him back to his hotel, across from the library, Knausgaard, who lives with his wife and four children in rural Sweden, said he could never live in Manhattan. “Maybe.” You’ve had some journalism appear in English recently.Was there a hiatus in your writing after you finished the books?
You took the title of your series from Hitler, and the last volume, which I haven’t yet read because it won’t appear in English until 2017, is largely about Hitler and Anders Breivik, who committed a massacre in Norway in 2011.It’s about the intimacy of it, which makes it impossible to write about it in real life. It fixes something in place, and it’s always a reduction. It is, of course, but when I’m writing I’m not thinking. It’s painful, and I feel very guilty, and I don’t want to do it anymore, but there it is. Everybody knows these things about themselves, but their reactions can differ.But it’s the same as with brain: The physical thing of it is worth writing about it, and the difference between the inner desire and the physical manifestation of it — all those things are interesting. My mother is treated very well in the books, but she was angry, it’s so hard to be reduced. When I’m writing I’m moving inside of myself, among all the people I know. I have a friend writing about me, and it is terrible.Two nights before he had been fêted at a gala at the New York Public Library, and he would be again that night at Mo MA.At the Algonquin, Knausgaard had a black coffee and a Diet Coke, and I had a bloody Mary.I was exhausted at the end of My Struggle, but I started writing again a few months later, only essays. In the beginning it was translating works close to home, only Germans, Austrians, and some Swedish writers, but we have started publishing Americans.