In the Land of the Cyclops: Essays
By Karl Ove Knausgaard
From New York Times bestselling author Karl Ove Knausgaard comes a collection of ambitious, remarkably erudite essays on art, literature, culture, and philosophy.
In the Land of the Cyclops is Karl Ove Knausgaard's first collection of essays to be published in English. In these wide-ranging pieces, Knausgaard reflects openly on Ingmar Bergman's notebooks, Anselm Kiefer, the Northern Lights, Madame Bovary, Rembrandt, and the role of an editor with penetrating intelligence. Accompanied by color reproductions throughout, these essays illuminate Cindy Sherman's shadowlands, the sublime mystery of Sally Mann's vision, and the serious play of Francesca Woodman. These essays capture Knausgaard's remarkable ability to mediate between the personal and the universal, between life and art. Each piece glimmers with Knausgaard's candor and his longing to authentically see, understand, and experience the world.
. . . A modern Roland Barthes . . . Knausgaard has a gift for stopping the reader in their tracks with an unexpected, casual profundity." — Meghan O'Gieblyn, The New York Times Book Review
"...As in the fiction, [Knausgaard's] intense focus, formidable command of reference and tendency to see the interconnectedness of things make for highly stimulating, almost overwhelming reading . . . The pantomime of critical dispassion is avoided; the rhetorical effect is one of wisdom gained rather than merely delivered." —Charles Arrowsmith, the Washington Post
"The collection, which also includes essays on Michel Houellebecq, Cindy Sherman and Kierkegaard, reads less like a book of criticism at times than a work of negative theology, circling the mysteries of artistic creation that cannot be directly articulated: What makes a book or a painting feel alive and relevant? Why should art, which occupies the realm of pure fantasy, have any rules at all?" — Stephen Poole, The Telegraph
"Knausgaard’s passion for interiority and the detail of the individual experience, the most brilliant elements of his fiction, come through . . . “In the Land of the Cyclops” proves that Knausgaard’s struggle is still ongoing, the search for truth as a balance between reality and our experience of it: “This, which we perhaps could call inexhaustible precision, is the goal of all art, and its essential legitimacy.”" — Jessica Ferri, The Los Angeles Times