Summer by Karl Ove Knausgård

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to read prior to publication date. The copy I received was from the publisher and it is an uncorrected proof. I received no monetary compensation for this review.


I just finished Summer by Karl Ove Knausgård.  This is the 4th installment of his works of essays. His previous three books are entitled: Winter, Spring, and Autumn. All of these books were written for his youngest daughter. There are essays as well as diary entries for the months of June and July. The use of the 2nd person is him explaining various things to his toddler. But there is no baby babble, he is writing to her at two but she will not be able to grasp much of this until she’s much older.

I’ve only read Summer, and it is the longest of all 4 books, topping out at over a little over 400 pages. 

This book started with quite a few essays of interest, but then the diary entries started. I found this format confusing as I didn’t understand the reason for the switch. I think the book would have worked better in one of 3 other ways.

  1. All essays
  2. All diary entries
  3. Part I being all essays and Part II being all diary entries.

But this hybrid style didn’t work, as the essays were not solely about the season of summer or things that have occurred or generally occurs during summer.


with Karl Ove Knausgård at Strand Book Store in NYC. May 9, 2015 (c) Liz Kelso

Some of the essays at the end of the book were about etymology. I suppose we are more aware of insects and other crawling creatures during the summer months, but by the end of the book, I had lost interest in all he was writing about.

There was one diary entry that I enjoyed. It was about his prostate exam. The way at which he approached it was humorous, and it broke up a lot of monotony.

I’ve not read the other seasons, thought I see they received pretty good ratings, and they are much shorter. I may take a chance and read the others based solely on those ratings.  Because if it was based just on this book, I would not bother.  The concept is appreciated, I just think he tried to do too much with this volume.

I’ve read some of his My Struggle novels and enjoyed those. AND he’s a real nice fella, so he gets a pass…this time.


About Liz Kelso
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