cover of book

The Abyss or Life Is Simple: Reading Knausgaard Writing Religion
by Courtney Bender, Jeremy Biles, Liane Carlson, Joshua Dubler, Hannah C. Garvey, M. Cooper Harriss, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan and Erik Thorstensen
University of Chicago Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-226-82132-0 | eISBN: 978-0-226-82133-7 | Paper: 978-0-226-82134-4
Library of Congress Classification PT8951.21.N38M53 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 839.82374

An absorbing collection of essays on religious textures in Knausgaard’s writings and our time.

Min kamp, or My Struggle, is a six-volume novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard and one of the most significant literary works of the young twenty-first century. Published in Norwegian between 2009 and 2011, the novel presents an absorbing first-person narrative of the life of a writer with the same name as the author, in a world at once fully disillusioned and thoroughly enchanted.

In 2015, a group of scholars began meeting to discuss the peculiarly religious qualities of My Struggle. Some were interested in Knausgaard’s attention to explicitly religious subjects and artworks, others to what they saw as more diffuse attention to the religiousness of contemporary life. The group wondered what reading these textures of religion in these volumes might say about our times, about writing, and about themselves. The Abyss or Life Is Simple is the culmination of this collective endeavor—a collection of interlocking essays on ritual, beauty, and the end of the world.

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