A BRIEF LITERARY CONVERSATION WITH TWO NOW-DEAD FRIENDS, EDMOND and EDMUND

ED and ED

July 29, 2015

The new living embodiment of the relentless anti-intellectual debasement of the literary Arts has stolen the crown from talentless word-processing juggernaut Haruki Murakami: Karl Ove Knausgaard, claim your crown and sceptre! I haven’t read duller, more vacuous, more will-sapping prose in a very, very long time…!

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I keep putting off my engagement with that tome . . . now I know the reason!

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Steven Seven Augustine

Oh, but it’s a MUST, Comrade. A must. Laugh.

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Steven Seven Augustine

(makes Paul Auster look like Milan Kundera in comparison)

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Ed Ward

I kinda like Murakami some of the time, but nothing on earth could get me to pick up Knausgaard.

Steven Seven Augustine

Here’s a sample from Volume 2 (“A Man in Love”): Knausgaard, his partner Linda and two of their children have arrived at a birthday party given by the parents of a child attending the local day-care with their 4-year-old, Vanya:

****

‘Don’t you want a carrot?’ I asked.

‘No,’ Vanja said.

‘But there’s a dip,’ I said. Went over to the table, took a carrot stick and dunked it in the white, presumably cream-based, dip and put it in my mouth.

‘Mm,’ I said. ‘It’s good!’

Why couldn’t they have given them sausages, ice cream and pop? Lollipops? Jelly? Chocolate pudding?

What a stupid, bloody idiotic country this was. All the young women drank water in such vast quantities it was coming out of their ears, they thought it was ‘beneficial’ and ‘healthy’, but all it did was send the graph of incontinent young people soaring. Children ate wholemeal pasta and wholemeal bread and all sorts of weird coarse-grained rice which their stomachs could not digest properly, but that didn’t matter because it was ‘beneficial’, it was ‘healthy’, it was ‘wholesome’. Oh, they were confusing food with the mind, they thought they could eat their way to being better human beings without understanding that food is one thing and the notions food evokes another. And if you said that, if you said anything of that kind, you were either reactionary or just a Norwegian, in other words ten years behind.

‘I don’t want any,’ Vanja said. ‘I’m not hungry.’

‘OK, OK,’ I said. ‘But look here. Have you seen this? It’s a train set. Shall we build it?’

She nodded, and we sat down behind the other children. I began to lay railway track in an arc while helping Vanja to fit her pieces. Heidi had moved into the other room, where she walked alongside the bookcase studying everything in it. Whenever the two boys’ capers became too boisterous she swivelled round and glared at them.

Erik finally put on a CD and turned up the volume. Piano, bass and a myriad of percussion instruments that a certain type of jazz drummer adores – the kind that bangs stones against each other or uses whatever materials happen to be at hand. For me it sometimes meant nothing, and sometimes I found it ridiculous. I hated it when the audience applauded at jazz concerts.

*****

and a few hundred pages more of that…

Steven Seven Augustine

He’s the quietly cantankerous Houellebecq of the imported-pram set, I guess…

Edmond Caldwell

That passage shows he can’t get a good tirade going. (Celine was the master of the tirade). Is the book full of limp tirades (tired-rades) about Norwegian this & Norwegian that?

Steven Seven Augustine

The object of his tepid rage is Sweden, actually!

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Edmond Caldwell

Oh, for some reason I thought he was Norwegian. It’s all the same up there, anyway. Am I a racist for saying that?

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Steven Seven Augustine

He IS Norwegian! But Sweden pisses him the fuck OFF

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Edmond Caldwell

Narcissism of small differences.

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Edmond Caldwell

They all eat, like, cold herrings in some kind of cream for every meal, don’t they? Ugh.

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Steven Seven Augustine

They all have high-quality porn on prime time mainstream network TV … at least Sweden did when I lived there.

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Edmond Caldwell

They all pride themselves on their tolerance & despise foreigners.

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Steven Seven Augustine

There’ve been psycho-social manipulations, I think; Sweden was pretty open and relaxed c. 2000… then The Agenda kicked in and they’ve been pushing the public in certain directions. But that’s another thread…

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Ed Ward

No, the Norwegians don’t like the Swedes. Neither do the Danes.

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Steven Seven Augustine

But they all like the Germans. Right, Ed? (wink)

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Steven Seven Augustine

http://foreignpolicy.com/…/famed-writer-karl-ove…/

FOREIGNPOLICY.COM

Famed Writer Karl Ove Knausgaard Declares War on Sweden, ‘Land of the Cyclops’

Famed Writer Karl Ove Knausgaard Declares War on Sweden, ‘Land of the Cyclops’

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Steven Seven Augustine

random sample (same book) 250 pages later:

*******

Gilda came behind him across the floor in low heels and a flowery summer dress.

‘Hi, Karl Ove,’ she said. ‘How are you?’

‘Hi, Gilda,’ I said. ‘Very well. How about you?’

‘Fine too. Working a lot now, you know. How are things at home? With Linda and your little daughter? It’s terrible how time has flown since we last talked. Is she OK? Is she doing well?’

‘Yes, she is. She’s busy with her course at the moment. So I’m busy taking Vanja out in the buggy during the day.’

‘And what’s that like?’

I shrugged.

‘OK.’

‘I’m wondering about it myself, you see. What it’s like to have a child. I think they’re a bit repellent. And the enormous belly and the milk in your breasts – that bothers me, to tell the truth. But Linda’s happy?’

‘Oh yes.’

‘Well, there you go. Say hello to her. I’ll ring her one day. Tell her!’

‘I will. Regards to Kettil!’

She raised a hand in a wave and went back to her seat.

*****

and so on for another 100 pages or so…

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Edmond Caldwell

Wow, that’s . . . stupefying. That’d make a good blurb — “Stupefying!” It almost (almost) makes me think he’s just trolling the reading public & laughing up his sleeve… But he takes himself seriously about this?

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Steven Seven Augustine

Oh, he’s just a fucking idiot, is all. An idiot with an enormous fan base including olde Woodie himself! I’m sure Woodie loved this riff:

“I went into the supermarket down in the Metro station by Stureplan, bought a grilled chicken, a lettuce, some tomatoes, a cucumber, black olives, two red onions and a fresh baguette, popped into Hedengrens on the way back and found a book about Nazi Germany, the first two volumes of Das Kapital, Orwell’s 1984, which I had never managed to read, a collection of essays by the same author, a book about Céline by Ekerwald and the latest Don DeLillo until Vanja brought my browsing to an end and I had to go and pay. The DeLillo I regretted buying the instant I was outside because even though I had been a fan of his, especially the novels The Names and White Noise, I hadn’t been able to read more than half of Underworld, and since the next book had been terrible it was evident that he was in decline.”

Fuck off, Dunce.

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Steven Seven Augustine

Yup, he’s an internationally best-selling author. Ever get the feeling that the World is kinda… fucking with you?

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Steven Seven Augustine

“That’d make a good blurb — “Stupefying!” I’d need to hear/see Wallace Shawn say it, though, with one of his emphatic, torso-involved gestures.

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Edmond Caldwell

an explication of his navel lint . . . not just that passage but sounds like the whole thing…

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Steven Seven Augustine

A) You think, who the fuck is this nitwit that he should presume that people would CARE and B.) people care

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Edmond Caldwell

Yeah he & Jiminy [critic James Wood] can break bread over DeLillo’s “decline” — but I’d love to see either or both of them bump into him on a deserted street.

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Edmond Caldwell

*otherwise deserted…

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Steven Seven Augustine

I’d prefer it if they bumped into US (laugh)

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Steven Seven Augustine

(this thread is becoming rather primal)

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Edmond Caldwell

Well then it’s a good thing for them you & I are on separate continents!!!!

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Steven Seven Augustine

Indeed. And, also, that I’m rapidly approaching the point at which I can no longer be bothered to generate the energy required to sneer, nor spit, nor kick a Limey charlatan in his atrophied genitals.

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Steven Seven Augustine

BTW, you know MOMUS slipped me into his new album? There’s a ref to me in the song called “Old Nick” ; he asked me if I’d noticed. Nice, eh? Just a little news from the part of the finer world in which there are no blockbusters, bestsellers or viral videos.

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Edmond Caldwell

That is really cool — may I ask the ref (is it a riff ref or a ref ref?)

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Steven Seven Augustine

It’s a little name-check: “Thanks, St A! By the way, hope you noticed the little wink I gave you in Old Nick (“Listen to St Augustine”)!

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