Autumn Beckons

The Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s latest cycle of books, the Seasons Quartet, has recently seen its first release, Autumn, in English this month.  (A quick note – the Seasons Quartet was originally published in Norwegian throughout 2015-16).  Styled as a series of letters to his unborn daughter, the quartet takes everyday objects or landscape features as their starting point for Knausgaard’s short and varied digressions on what it means to be alive.  I currently have Autumn by my bedside and it is a beautiful publication indeed, illustrated in style by Vanessa Baird and ably translated by Ingvild Burkey.  I haven’t yet started reading it but I shall do tonight, as it seems fitting to do so as the clouds roll in and the temperature drops. Autumn truly is my favourite season and I look forward to the changing colour of the landscape as trees shed their leaves and the nights draw in.

The second volume in the series, Winter, is released on the 2nd November 2017 and I cannot wait to hold and to read it.  I note on the publisher’s website that the volume has a different illustrator; I’m quite impressed that Knausgaard (or at least his publisher) is bringing together other artists into the fold of his new publications.  It also introduces the English-speaking world to new Scandinavian writers and artists that they may otherwise have not come across.  In the meantime Knausgaard’s much-anticipated sixth volume of his My Struggle cycle of novels isn’t released until late 2018, in the English translation, but the Seasons Quartet more than makes up for the long wait.  Happy reading!

Advertisements

The Earth & Everything In It

My room, I realize, is covered in books and CD’s.  Stacks of both poke out from under my bed, bulge on shelves, take root on free patches on the floor.  I have boxes of academic books and reference texts resting below where I sleep, buried alongside those are boxes of CD’s and cassette tapes, filled with yesterday’s music and recorded jam sessions made during the proclivities of my youth.  They are, it appears, my media of choice for consuming the experiences and thoughts of being human.

To be human, as to recognize to being alive, is temporary but what a beauty that it is in itself:

‘But the stars twinkle above our heads, the sun shines, the grass grows and the earth, yes, the earth, it swallows all life and eradicates all vestige of it, spews out new life in a cascade of limb and eyes, leaves and nails, hair and tails, cheeks and fur and guts, and swallows it up again. And what we never really comprehend , or don’t want to comprehend, is that this happens outside us, that we ourselves have no part in it, that we are only that which grows and dies, as blind as the waves in the sea are blind.’

From My Struggle: Part 2. A Man In Love (2014) by Karl Ove Knausgaard.