Failing With Total Dedication

Karl Ove Knausgaard, “Bookforum Talks With Karl Ove Knausgaard” by Trevor Laurence Jockims, Bookforum 24 June 2013

Bookforum: Are there other projects you’re working on now you’d care to mention, ones growing out of, or away from, My Struggle? I guess I’m thinking of the claim made in Volume 2 that writing My Struggle felt like committing literary suicide.

Knausgaard: It was a literary suicide. There is nothing left; I can never again write something from the heart without repeating myself, but I wanted it that way: In Volume 6 I even wrote a couple of lines about future novels, stories I’d thought of, just to kill them off. The last sentence in that book is: “And I’m so happy that I’m no longer an author.” So what I work on now are things associated with literature. I have written a collection of essays, which are going to be published this fall, I have translated a book from Swedish, which will be out in late May, and I have written a screenplay for a film based on my first novel. I have also started a small publishing venture with some friends. This spring, we published three novels — by Judith Herman, Christian Kracht, and Maria Zennström — and in the fall we have six books on the list, among them Peter Handke and Katie Kitamura. Doing all this makes me long for some real writing, but I don’t have what it takes: a capability to fail for years. That is what writing is for me: failing with total dedication.

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