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My Newest Book: Dear Knausgaard

A mix of memoir, literary criticism, and feminist analysis, my most recent book, Dear Knausgaard, is written as a series of letters to the Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard about my experience reading his six-volume, thirty-six-hundred-page autobiographical novel My Struggle.


Praise for Dear Knausgaard

"Kim Adrian's loving struggle with Knausgaard is the kind of criticism I most enjoy — personal, wonderfully engaged, intense but somehow simultaneously light-footed, and extremely intelligent. The brilliance of her feminist critique is that it acutely exposes vulnerabilities in Knausgaard's male universalism while affectionately acknowledging the scope and appeal of his inevitably gendered voice. A delight from start to finish."
—James Wood


"On display is a rigorous mind, a fiery intellect, a curious and engaged reader. Adrian brings lofty ideas — questions of attention and meaning, of the troubling permeability between inside and outside, of reality itself — down to the meat-and-feeling human level."
—Boston Globe


"Adrian's dynamic work of both literary and self-analysis will appeal to those passionate readers who have vacillated between adoring certain authors and wanting to throw their books across the room."
—Publisher's Weekly


"Adrian [takes] on a daunting task: responding to the entirety of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle. If you’re seeking a heady, thoughtful response to a heady, thoughtful multi-volume work — well, we have a recommendation for you."
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn


"In these imaginary letters, Kim Adrian faces down her hero and unwitting oppressor, a man whose novels have helped her see the world anew, but whose blind spots give pain and spark anger. Adrian’s crushing honesty, her unusual forbearance: these make the book a moving and intimate one. Her long attachment to My Struggle makes the critique an essential read."
—William Pierce, author of Reality Hunger: on Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle


"If she’s borrowing a form, Adrian returns it, so far as I can tell, utterly unrecognizable, either dissolved or reinvented in that fancy Benjaminian sense . . . In a series of unsent letters that the writer knew from the start she’d never send, more of a procedural than anything else, Adrian somehow manages to make this plodding come alive . . . I don’t know how she does it."
—Essay Daily


“Kim Adrian’s Dear Knausgaard isn’t just for everyone who reveled in or fought with My Struggle, it’s for everyone who reads — period, everyone who struggles with the profoundly complicated act of engaging with another mind. It is both a love letter to Knausgaard and a feminist critique of his work, a celebration and deconstruction of the act of close reading, and a meta-commentary on the relationship between writer and reader. Smart, funny, intimate, and erudite, this marvelous book is a powerful argument for the potential of reading to change us, to alter the trajectory of our lives.”
—Peter Grandbois, author of Nahoonkara

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