When Karl Ove Knausgaard joins us in New York this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the Norwegian-American Literary Festival, he’ll do so not just as the author of My Struggle but as the publisher of Pelikanen (Pelican), the house he founded in 2010. Knausgaard runs the press on what he calls “an idealistic basis”—it’s a nonprofit—with his brother Yngve, Asbjørn Jensen, and a few friends.
New York: tonight at McNally Jackson, Rowan Ricardo Phillips will read his latest basketball column—so new, in fact, that I haven’t even seen it yet. (If you haven’t heard, Rowan is our new, and also first-ever, basketball columnist.) He appears tonight as part of the bookstore’s weekly variety show, with Michael Cunningham, Billy Hough, Alex Mar, Adam Sternbergh, and Michael Robbins there to cover any and all non-basketball-related portions of the evening. The event begins at seven tonight. If you’re not in New York, you can livestream it from McNally Jackson’s Web site.
Our Spring issue featured “Sample Trees,” a portfolio by Thomas Demand and Ben Lerner. Demand constructed and photographed paper flowers based on a detail from a news photo of Katherine Russell, the widow of the Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev; Lerner wrote a series of poems to accompany the photos.
“Sample Trees” is part of a larger cycle, Blossom, available now from Mack Books in a lavish Japanese-bound hardcover. Tomorrow, November 10, the pair will be at the MoMA Design and Book Store (11 West Fifty-third Street) to celebrate and sign copies of the book. The signing begins at seven P.M. We hope to see you there.
I also bought a teach-yourself drums book, carved two sticks, placed some books around me in a circle on the floor, the one on the left was the hi-hat, the one next to it the snare drum, and the three books above the tomtoms. —My Struggle, Book 3
Reporting on a Karl Ove Knausgaard reading last summer, The Baffler wrote that “two young men kept comparing the event to a rock concert and complaining that they should have brought 40s … Knausgaard has become a rock star.” The writer himself has told of a German journalist “who compared me to a rock band. He said, the books don’t really have any focus, it’s just loose, it’s like just having some songs about drinking and they don’t have anything else … he saw pictures of me, he said, ‘You pose like a rock star.’ ”
But all this is soon to leave the realm of mere comparison. On Wednesday and Friday, as part of the Norwegian-American Literary Festival, Knausgaard will play the drums with his reunited college band, Lemen, thus sundering the flimsy membrane that separates him from full-on rock stardom. For this is what rock musicians have done throughout history: sundered membranes. Read More
Next week, we’re delighted to cohost the latest Norwegian-American Literary Festival, a series of readings, conversations, and musical performances coming to New York for three nights. As the events approach, we’ll be telling you more about what’s in store.
On Thursday, May 21, at Chelsea’s 192 Books, James Wood will appear in discussion with four of Norway’s most promising young writers—we’re eager to introduce them to a new audience.
Gunnhild Øyehaug has published poetry, essays, and novels, but she’s perhaps best known for her short collection Knots; “Every story [is] a formal surprise, smart and droll,” Lydia Davis wrote of her stories in the Times Literary Supplement. Her novel Wait, Blink was made into the acclaimed film Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts. She has also worked as a coeditor of the literary journals Vagant and Kraftsentrum. Øyehaug lives in Bergen, where she teaches creative writing.
Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold, from Oslo, is the author of four novels and a collection of poetry; her work have been published in more than twenty languages. An English translation of her novel Monsterhuman will appear from Dalkey Archive Press. Bold, witty, and deeply existential, Monsterhuman is a bildungsroman that turns the story of a young woman’s chronic fatigue syndrome into an intellectual journey, at once grave and comic.
Lars Petter Sveen’s third book, the novel Children of God, made him a household name in Norway. Due in English from Graywolf Press, Children of God is set in the Bethlehem of Biblical times, where multiple narrators who have crossed paths with Jesus tell their stories. Sveen counts Cormac McCarthy among his influences, and his often violent stories present themselves as alternative gospels.
Carl Frode Tiller has written three novels and three plays; he lives in Trondheim and plays in the rock band Kong Ler. His three-volume novel Encirclement tells the story of David, who suffers from memory loss—but also of the nine people who write letters to him trying to remind him who he was, simultaneously questioning and celebrating the act of storytelling.
Again, these writers will appear in conversation with James Wood at 192 Books next Thursday, May 21. The event begins at seven P.M.; it’s free and open to the public. See you there!
You may have noticed a Knausgaard theme on the Daily today, between our interview with his translator Don Bartlett and Ian MacDougall’s probing analysis of the author’s scatological side. We’re celebrating the release of My Struggle’s fourth volume—but we’re also celebrating the latest Norwegian-American Literary Festival, a series of readings, conversations, and musical performances coming to New York for three nights next month.
The festival begins on Wednesday, May 20, at the Westway in the Meatpacking District, where Karl Ove Knausgaard’s reunited college band, Lemen, will take the stage. James Wood’s band, the Fun Stuff, will perform, too, and Lydia Davis will begin the night in conversation with Dag Solstad about writing family history. Solstad is one of Norway’s preeminent writers, the author of thirty-three books translated into thirty languages. Davis learned Norwegian by reading his latest novel, a four-hundred-page epic whose title translates, roughly, as The Insoluble Epic Element in Telemark in the Period 1591–1896. Read More