PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewKnausgaard’s critical writing does return obsessively to the question of artistic limits ... Reviewers of My Struggle frequently praised Knausgaard’s essayistic talent, and readers who enjoyed the novel’s digressions on, say, Dostoyevsky or Paul Celan will find here the same mingling of critical and personal reflection. A meditation on the northern lights detours into musings on Proust and Pascal ... The collection, which also includes essays on Michel Houellebecq, Cindy Sherman and Kierkegaard, reads less like a book of criticism at times than a work of negative theology, circling the mysteries of artistic creation ... In most cases, however, these airy speculations are saved by moments of self-searching that bring the meditation back to the personal and the concrete. To some extent, the collection is an extended reckoning with Knausgaard’s own creative process ... This artistic vantage, which Knausgaard inhabits so artfully throughout the collection, is abandoned rather abruptly in the title essay, which adopts a more defensive tone ... The essay is a blight — an outsize one, given that it shares the book’s name — on an otherwise fine collection and flatly contradicts what he has argued throughout its pages ... It is unfortunate when one of the very best occupants of that terrain ceases to see this as a necessary constraint and instead regards himself as the lone exile in a world full of monsters.