Cover image for Autumn

Om høosten. English
Knausgård, Karl Ove, 1968- author.

Baird, Vanessa, 1963- illustrator.

Burkey, Ingvild, 1967- translator.
Physical Description:
224 pages : color illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Originally published ... under the title Om hosten by Forlaget Oktober, Oslo"--Title page verso.
The first entry in a planned four-part autobiographical series presents sensory letters written to the author's unborn daughter that describe his childhood and daily life with his wife and older children in rural Sweden.
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Book BIO KNAUSGARD Adult Reading Level Biography

On Order



The New York Times bestseller.

"This book is full of wonders...Loose teeth, chewing gum, it all becomes noble, almost holy, under Knausgaard's patient, admiring gaze. The world feels repainted."
-- The New York Times

From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons.

28 August. Now, as I write this, you know nothing about anything, about what awaits you, the kind of world you will be born into. And I know nothing about you...

I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees. You will come to see it in your own way, you will experience things for yourself and live a life of your own, so of course it is primarily for my own sake that I am doing this: showing you the world, little one, makes my life worth living.

Autumn begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. He describes with acute sensitivity daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. The sun, wasps, jellyfish, eyes, lice--the stuff of everyday life is the fodder for his art. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention. This beautifully illustrated book is a personal encyclopaedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Knausgaard shows us how vast, unknowable and wondrous the world is.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Novelist Knausgaard (My Struggle) eloquently expresses the delights, rewards, and insights of looking closely in this, the first of a projected quartet of autobiographical volumes based on the four seasons. Writing to his unborn daughter-the author and his wife, Linda, already have three other children-Knausgaard revels in everyday items such as tin cans and rubber boots; his perfect deconstruction of an old-fashioned landline telephone is a joy. His thoughts take to the heavens as well, whether contemplating the sun overhead, the arrival of twilight, or the migration of birds each year. He is not shy about exposing the scatological or the cruel in life; there is both softness and hardness in his musings, reverence and irreverence. Most of all, his writing encourages the reader to see the connections between quotidian things and the bigger picture and to appreciate both continuity and change. Autumn hums in the background as apple trees flourish and days get darker, and one looks forward to what associations he will uncover in the remaining seasons of the year. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

The phenomenally prolific author of the best-selling autobiographical sextet My Struggle, as well as Home and Away (2017), Knausgaard returns with the first in a four-part series centered around the seasons. Working with dozens of brief vignettes, he dispenses with the veneer of narrative, adopting a more reflective, essayistic style. The result is a collection of freely associative, often profound installments, unchained by storytelling conventions. Divided into three parts, one for each month of autumn, beginning in late August and spanning through November, each section opens with a Letter to an Unborn Daughter, addressed ostensibly to Knausgaard's soon-to-be-delivered child. Topics under consideration include objects as innocuous as apples, infants, and chewing gum, but also blood, piss, and vomit. On full display is Knausgaard's gift for extracting high drama from even the most mundane daily events: The little tooth, sharply white, dark red with blood at the root, is thrown in to almost obscenely sharp relief against my pinkish palm. This fresh, welcome performance will tide readers over until publication of the much-anticipated finale of My Struggle in 2018.--Báez, Diego Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This book by Knausgaard (My Struggle), the first in a four-part series, has the author shifting his focus from the mundane events of his life that made up his earlier work to the objects in the world around him. Written in the form of a letter to his unborn daughter, this book hopes to show her the world she will soon inhabit. The objects described vary from material items (apples, beds, vomit, gum) to the abstract (loneliness, forgiveness, experience). Throughout, the author highlights how certain articles blur the line between the internal and external. For example, he discusses certain fruits, such as oranges, as having a thick skin separating the inside from the outside and how when eating an orange we must first work to remove the skin. Apples, however, have thin, edible skin. Thus, the boundary between the internal and external is diminished in an apple. The focus on internal and external worlds is primarily what connects the items throughout the book. While the subject matter is banal, the attention given to each item, and the insights gleaned from such attention are fascinating. VERDICT Fans of Knausgaard's earlier books as well as anyone with an interest in creative nonfiction should be satisfied. [See Prepub Alert, 2/13/17.]-Timothy Berge, SUNY Oswego Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.