From obscure author to literary legend—that’s the transition Karl Ove Knausgaard has made in recent years thanks to his acclaimed autobiographical work, My Struggle. In that six-volume series, he delivers a meticulously detailed chronicle of his upbringing in Norway and his life as a writer, husband and father.
In her new novel, the always intriguing Ali Smith portrays an odd friendship between a centenarian and the neighbor girl—now a young woman—he cared for in her childhood. Smith blends conventional realist narrative with passages that read almost like prose poems to create an elegiac story that’s decidedly more than the sum of its parts.
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