Michael Silverblatt: “I felt that I understood Karl Ove Knausgaard, both the character in the book and the writer of the book, in a way that I haven't understood another person since I was reading Dostoeyevsky — that the feeling of great passion, great terror and ordinary life were all engaged in this book. But I think that while the world — all over the world — has become tragically more like America, America has become more like Norway.”
Silverblatt: “If you were to talk to young people here, any one young person on the street, he or she would say: ‘I fear my life is worthless, I fear my life means nothing, I don't know where to go, I don't know what to do, I don't know how to restore significance to my life.'
Silverblatt: “This is something beyond existentialism, beyond Camus' ‘the Stranger'. This is the tragic sadness of ordinary life.”
Knausgaard: “Yeah. Do you think that's connected to our times, or do you think it's —?”
Silverblatt: “I do, I do. I think that ideas about… oh you know? If I don't let you say… do you think this is connected to our times?”
Knausgaard: (laughs) “I think… certainly my grandparents felt that way, I'm sure. They had to, you know, they have had to work and to do all of these things just to survive, to manage, to live — I mean it's too much to do to, to worry about these things. It's different now.
But I don't know. For me, my strategy is just to go and think what I — try to describe what's in my life, and my connection to contemporary life and describe it in details, hoping that it will be relevant, hoping that I could catch something, but I do not know those general abstract notions about contemporary life whatsoever.”