Last week I caught an interview with Laurie Anderson (performance artist and Mrs. Lou Reed) in which she detailed a recent concert for dogs that she put on at the Sydney Opera House and raved about a memoir called My Struggle by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard.
Released in Norway in 2009, My Struggle is actually the first volume of a six volume autobiography, chronicling the author’s childhood and his father’s descent into alcoholism. Knausgaard’s writing style is extraordinary. He catalogues even the most seemingly insignificant details with such astounding clarity that you feel as if the veil between writer and reader has all but dropped away. The world he describes is all at once bleak, crisp, cold, majestic, crushing, and invigorating. James Woods of The New Yorker describes it perfectly when he says, “even when I was bored, I was interested.”
I had never thought much about Norway. It certainly wasn’t at the top of my list of travel destinations, but the more I reflect on it, I realize that I have had a thing for Norwegians for a while. For example, last summer I read an amazing short story by Wells Tower called “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” about a band of restless Vikings. Several years ago, I developed a crush on Andreas Viestad, the chef/host of the show “New Scandinavian Cooking” on PBS. And I don’t even like fish.
When my sister turned me on to the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse, Toki Wartooth, the Norwegian rhythm guitarist, was definitely our favorite character.
Aside from all of that, it only takes a simple Google image search to see that Norway is an incredibly worthwhile destination (these are all from VisitNorway.com):
So, yeah. I guess I want to visit Norway. Who knew? The only real obstacle I can foresee is the language, which pretty much sounds like this in my mind:
Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!”