Saturday, November 14, 2015

"There is no empirical reason for his gloomy attitude"

At the WSJ, Liesl Schillinger on why Knausgaard can't stop writing:
To heighten the stakes and to increase Knausgaard’s resolve, his publisher at Oktober suggested he produce the book serially, “as Dickens did,” one short volume a month, then rerelease them as a single, 1,500-page magnum opus. Knausgaard thought the idea was “fantastic.” If he missed a single deadline, he would be publicly shamed, at least in his own mind. “The risk factor was very important,” he says. “I couldn’t say, ‘I need more time.’ If you have to do it in eight weeks, you can’t care about the writing or composition; anything goes. It’s a way of making yourself free.” However, once the terror of falling behind on his deadlines had liberated him, Knausgaard wrote so many pages so quickly that he and his editor, Geir Gulliksen, realized a new format had to be devised. They and Oktober’s then-CEO, Berdahl, announced that they would publish six full-length novels, back to back: And thus, My Struggle was born. Fed up with the artifice of fiction, Knausgaard decided to use actual names and events to the greatest extent possible. “I felt like I never said what I really meant to anyone; I was trying to please everybody. I felt like a coward, and I wanted to break out of all of that.”
(Nice shot of Elaine Scarry's book The Body in Pain in one of the photos!) Here was Knausgaard at the NYTBR on reading Michel Houellebecq's latest novel.

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