In his essays Knausgaard confronts common household objects and the most basic natural phenomena... Knausgaard’s aim is to re-see the everyday. And he does this in his idiosyncratic way, determinedly following the path of his darting thoughts, the way a hunter (better, a videographer, because he wants it alive) might track a rabbit... Knausgaard wrote these essays, he said in an interview, 'for fun.' And they are fun...and stunning and glorious. But Knausgaard is not funny. He’s perhaps wry ... These essays will not intimidate anybody by their length; most are two to four pages ... Yet even in the small space of these works, Knausgaard is able to ask intelligent 'naive' questions in the midst of discoveries, observations, and contemplations. It’s not agreeing or disagreeing with his opinions or being intimately connected to his experiences that is so gripping; it’s the seemingly endless stirring of his thoughts about the wide world out there that helps to stir ours.
Winter, the second volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s seasonal quartet, is a continuing crash course in living for the author’s soon-to-be-born daughter and a stopgap for readers awaiting the arrival of the last volume of My Struggle ... He has a Wallace Stevens mind of winter, beholding the 'nothing that is not there and the nothing that is' — ultimately leading to the nothing interesting. The short essays that make up this book are, on balance, dull and repetitive. They all emphasize the same worn point: Winter is about death, and death is coming for all of us ... At its best and most personal, the book underscores the sense of fragility that parents feel in preparing for a newborn ... Despite this sporadic beauty, the pages, like snow, begin to pile up without leaving much behind. His thoughts become predictable and reductive. He keeps hammering the point that humankind is constantly trying to avoid death; it’s less clear why this is a bad idea.
Winter, the second collection of essays in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s 'four seasons' quartet, comprises 60 short pieces, punctuated by three letters addressed to his youngest daughter. Framed as a 'lexicon for an unborn child,' the collection evokes the shape of nondirected, unbounded thought, and an artist’s sensibility, free from conventional judgments of what’s worth noticing ...most of the essays in Winter read like excerpts from, or preambles to, longer essays. They read not just as though their initiating subjects were noticed quickly but as though they were written quickly; they seem uninterested in pursuing the goals of the short essay, which are precision, originality and speed ... Fans of My Struggle will find some finely articulated passages in Winter, written by a gentler, more mildly tempered narrator than that of the longer books ... Or perhaps I should be less judgmental of an artist who tries new things and works against his natural style. Perhaps I should admire Knausgaard for daring to become an amateur again.