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Master of Banality

Peak Knausgaard continues apace. Nice essay in Bookforum.

The pervasive sense of menace helps answer the question of how Knausgaard manages to imbue ordinary incidents—a trip to the Fina station to buy candy, making a sandwich—with such powerful suspense. Reading Boyhood,one realizes that this peculiar suspense is mimetic of the anxiety an abused child feels. There is the sense that the ordinary trip to the gas station could morph into a terrible fight, in which his father might hit him; that losing a sock at swim class will lead to a violent confrontation; that walking past the study at the wrong moment could lead to a tongue-lashing. Growing up with an abusive father, one is never sure at what moment he might throw the bedroom door open and demand an accounting.



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