Title: Boyhood Island (Goodreads)
Author: Karl Ove Knausgård
Translator: Don Bartlett
Series: Min Kamp #3
Published: Harvill Secker, 2009
My Copy: Library Book
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
Boyhood Island is the third book in the Karl Ove Knausgård’s six volume autobiographical novel, My Struggle (Min Kamp). While Knausgård talked in great length about his father in A Death in the Family (My Struggle #1) this is a more in depth look at his relationship with his parents. With the focus being on his childhood, Boyhood Island allows Karl Ove to reflect on his adolescence in a “coming of age” style novel.
I will admit that I have been enjoying the Min Kamp, but there is something about A Death in the Family that really worked for me. The way he talked about his father with lines like “Dad had got what was coming to him, it was good that he was dead,” in the midst of what felt a lot like a midlife crisis really worked for me. A Man in Love was a more tender novel, allowing Karl Ove to explore his relationship with his wife. I think the swing from a dark and bitter first novel to the tenderness of the second really allowed me to discover the range in Knausgård’s writing and I was very captivated by this.
When it came to Boyhood Island, I was disappointed that we were going back to his relationship with his father. I felt like A Death in the Family dealt with that issue; although in not great detail but enough to have the highlights. This book felt like we were going over the same material again but in far greater detail. The coming of age style worked when talking about Karl Ove’s life but I never felt like there was anything new to cover when it came to talking about his father.
There are some interesting insights in Boyhood Island that are well worth exploring, I just did not think it lived up to the other books in the series. I am keen to check out Dancing in the Dark, which covers Knausgård’s college years, I have a feeling there will be a return to form for this author. I am half way through Min Kamp so I feel like I might as well complete it. Karl Ove Knausgård is a very impressive writer and the range on display between each novel is what draws me to his novels. Although I have never read anything other than these autobiographical novels, I am interested in seeing how he writes in his other books.