Autumn | Penguin Random House Canada

Autumn

Publisher: Knopf Canada
A love letter to his unborn daughter, Autumn is for every reader who thinks about what the world holds for their child, and is the first book in a surprising, deeply personal and humane quartet: The Seasons--the new project from the always fascinating, original, global literary superstar.

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 writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world she will soon come into. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerizing intensity that have become his trademark, a riveting personal encyclopedia of everything from chewing gum and tin cans to the migration of birds and the stars. Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Karl Ove shows us how vast, unknowable and wondrous the world is.

PRAISE FOR

Knausgaard’s observations are a balm during these troubled times. . . . Knausgaard has the Scandinavian talent for celebrating the plainness of things, the importance of the minor objects with which one shares solitary confinement.” —Toronto Star 

“[Knausgaard’s] observations themselves are sharp and compelling, rooted in concrete detail, with a matter-of-factness that often veers toward the objective or scientific. . . . The short pieces in Autumn . . . are marvels of concision, opening out into epiphanies with an effortless grace, but rooted in the physical world: the colours of spilled petrol, the shifting tones of grass and trees as autumn slips toward winter, the faces of loved ones. There is never any sense of sameness, and each section has its own quiet power that merits a slow approach to the book as a whole. . . . Autumn is a beautiful, thought-provoking book, often uncomfortable and shocking, but as frequently profound, the sort of book one can imagine revisiting often, finding something new, something significant, in every reading.” —National Post

“Knausgaard can take the breath away, his compressed vignettes delivering the same emotional charge as longer sequences from his previous work. . . . [Autumn] quietly illuminates Knausgaard’s profound gift for making the reader see the world in fresh and unpredictable ways.” —The Guardian

Autumn is sweet and slender. . . . [T]he central preoccupation of the book [is] to restore our sense of awe, to render the world again strange and full of magic. . . . Loose teeth, chewing gum, it all becomes noble, almost holy, under Knausgaard’s patient, admiring gaze. The world feels repainted.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Knausgaard 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. . . . 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.” —Publishers Weekly

“The writing is paired with beautiful illustrations by Vanessa Baird, which will leave readers with a sense of wonder. Autumn takes on a wide variety of subjects, but the vignettes are all united by the love with which they were written.” —Bookish

“What truly unites these pieces [in Autumn] is Knausgaard’s sensibility, which is one part Montaigne (an urge to address big issues), one part Nicholson Baker (an eye for picayune detail), and one part Annie Dillard (an admiration for nature and an elegant prose style) . . . A call to pay closer attention to the routine stuff in our lives and to allow ourselves to be thunderstruck by their beauty. An engagingly wide-ranging set of meditations.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)