Dear Knausgaard

"[Dear Knausgaard] ends up being about not just what it means to read Knausgaard’s work, but what it means to read, to think, to allow oneself to be not just moved by a piece of art, but altered by it in 'the special kind of communion that’s sometimes possible through the medium of text.'”
The Boston Globe
dear knausgaard
Publisher: Fiction Advocate | Released: September 2, 2020 | Paperback 194 pp.
In a series of warm and often funny letters, Kim Adrian delivers a compelling feminist critique of the 6-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle, by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard. Adrian’s book of letters begins as a witty and entertaining response to a seminal work and transforms into a fierce and powerful interrogation of the darker social and cultural forces informing Knausgaard’s project. Through an examination of the curious operations of intimacy demanded on both sides of the page by all great literature, Dear Knausgaard ultimately provides a heartfelt celebration of the act of reading itself.
» Read an excerpt on Public Books
» Read an excerpt on The Rumpus

reviews
"This work is less an homage to Knausgaard than a way for Adrian to reckon with her own reading habits. Those moments that praise Knausgaard’s magnum opus or wonder dreamily about his real life—two things, Adrian admits, that are hard to tell apart—pale in comparison to those places where Adrian ruthlessly interrogates the work and the literary world at large, especially the misogyny that she finds in both places. In examining how Knausgaard uses the word 'feminine' throughout to connote weakness and a lack of substance, she reflects that 'language is, in itself, hardly a neutral medium.' 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

"On display [in Dear Knausgaard] 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. The book ends up being about not just what it means to read Knausgaard’s work, but what it means to read, to think, to allow oneself to be not just moved by a piece of art, but altered by it in 'the special kind of communion that’s sometimes possible through the medium of text.'” —The Boston Globe

"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

"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

"Dear Knausgaard brings together two notions of what it means to be good, two kinds of writerly indulgence, two versions of the casualness and self-attentiveness of our era. 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


related press
"Talking Back to Books"
an Essay Daily salon, video recorded 8/31/2020
Joint reading with Alden Jones
a Brookline Booksmith event, video recorded 9/3/2020

purchase
Indiebound    SPD Books
Amazon    Fiction Advocate
ISBN-10: 099943165X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9994316-5-8

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