In 1986, twenty-year-old Syvert Løyning returns from the military to his mother's home in southern Norway. One evening, his dead father comes to him in a dream. Realizing that he doesn't really know who his father was, Syvert begins to investigate his life and finds clues pointing to the Soviet Union. What he learns changes his past and undermines the entire notion of who he is.
In present-day Russia, Alevtina Kotov, a biologist working at Moscow University, is traveling with her young son to the home of her stepfather, to celebrate his eightieth birthday. Most of her drive has gone, and she finds herself in a place she doesn't want to be, without really understanding how she got there. Her stepfather, a musician, raised her as his own daughter, and she was never interested in learning about her biological father; when she finally starts looking into him, she learns that he died many years ago and left two sons, Joar and Syvert.
Years later, when Syvert and Alevtina meet in Moscow, two very different approaches to life emerge. And as a bright star appears in the sky, it illuminates the wonder of human existence and the mysteries that exist beyond our own worldview.
Though there are supernatural touches ...this long first section is primarily driven by the intrigues of realist fiction ... If Knausgaard is your thing, it reads as compulsively as anything he’s written ... Contains long essayistic stretches, quite unlike the rest of the narrative, that probe both eschatology and death itself. In these passages, Knausgaard once again proves a thoughtful and wide reader ... At times, the book’s conceptual weight and narrative sprawl feel unsustainably massive ... Although the final shape of Knausgaard’s latest enterprise is not yet visible, there’s famously no smoke without wildfires. It’s likely something wicked this way comes.
Comprises multiple narratives filtered through various characters ... The task of any novel is to absorb its materials, to finish what it started ... On the intellectual level, however, the great tension of warring concepts is unresolved. That might be the point. Knausgaard has spackled his narrative with several of these obsessive reflections ... The sense of things in anxious flux — we feel it throughout. The clincher for me was when I felt the words on the page become a stark premonition.
Eerie ... The range of subjects The Wolves of Eternity explores is fascinating, but the elements of the novel that gave me the most joy were also the most prosaic ... Perhaps I’ll be in the minority to say it, but I wanted The Wolves of Eternity to be even longer.