November 13, 2018

“My Struggle” Takes on Hitler and Fails

“So here we are, at the end of the carnival. The sixth and final book of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s vast and consuming diaristic novel My Struggle is out in America, and the burden of authorship shifts from him to us. Readers who believe that Knausgaard has done something remarkable now have to answer a question: What remarkable thing did he do?

His technical breakthrough was to give up. Knausgaard describes writing My Struggle at a heedless pace, 10 or 20 pages a day. He wrote the fifth of the six books in just eight weeks. “It hasn’t anything to do with courage,” he’s said. “It’s more that I was so desperate and so frustrated. The only way I could trick myself into writing was by doing it like this. By setting myself the premise that I would write very quickly and not edit, that everything should be in it.”

What’s driven many critics and especially many of Knausgaard’s fellow writers crazy is that this shouldn’t work. Richard Brinsley Sheridan observed that “easy writing’s vile hard reading,” Thomas Mann that writers are people for whom writing is harder than others.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"The bear market in crude has vastly different implications for the U.S. and euro zone. Also, fun with emerging markets and (in)efficient markets."

"That Trump would threaten California in the midst of this tragedy is, on its own, an act of cruelty. But his tweet was also plain wrong... there’s no dense forest surrounding the cities hit hardest by the fires."

"The integration of ultra-orthodox society into Israeli society at large and internal divisions within the ultra-orthodox world have caused many ultra-Orthodox Jews to vote for candidates in municipal elections who are not themselves ultra-orthodox.

"Lee isn’t just responsible for the super hero movies of Marvel and DC, but his influence can be felt in Star Wars, Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and dozens of blockbuster franchises."

"Each year, local governments spend nearly $100 billion to move headquarters and factories between states. It’s a wasteful exercise that requires a national solution."

"The futurist philosopher Yuval Noah Harari thinks Silicon Valley is an engine of dystopian ruin. So why do the digital elite adore him so?"

"Should the acquired item prove absolutely useless, as its original owner clearly felt it to be, there is always something else to do with it, provided one has ingenuity, a high tolerance for clutter, and, ideally, a range of demented enthusiasms."

"If it were true that novelists needed “quietude, time and space” to produce novels, Preston would be right to declare a state of crisis. But Bellow wrote his first novel while serving on a merchant marine ship during the Second World War."

"It’s an all too common story. Each Veterans Day, Americans recognize our active-duty military and veterans. We should also recognize their spouses."

"They’ve been maligned in nutrition circles for decades, with links to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But they’re also highly satisfying and provide many essential nutrients."

"Arguing that our current understanding cannot rule it out, Hawking, it seems, was cautiously optimistic. So where does this leave us? We cannot build a time machine today, but could we in the future?"

"Shiva was unfamiliar to me, and required asking a lot of questions. I grew up without formal Jewish education, so I didn’t know the rules. I wasn’t sure if I was “supposed” to observe the rites since my dad wasn’t Jewish..."