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The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event’s keynote speaker.   The series launched in 2017 wi The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event’s keynote speaker.   The series launched in 2017 with the release of Devotion, by renowned musician, artist, and author Patti Smith. This new volume is by internationally best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgaard, and future editions will come from Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als and poet-playwright Elizabeth Alexander, who recited her poetry at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.


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The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event’s keynote speaker.   The series launched in 2017 wi The Why I Write series is based on the Windham-Campbell Lectures, delivered annually to commemorate the awarding of the Donald Windham–Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the series publishes works based on the lecture given by the event’s keynote speaker.   The series launched in 2017 with the release of Devotion, by renowned musician, artist, and author Patti Smith. This new volume is by internationally best-selling author Karl Ove Knausgaard, and future editions will come from Pulitzer Prize winner Hilton Als and poet-playwright Elizabeth Alexander, who recited her poetry at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.

30 review for Inadvertent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Reads almost like a re-mixed excerpt from My Struggle Book Five’s parts about writing. A typo on page 7 (“than” instead of “that”) on a page about trust made me distrust this one’s publication at first, thinking it a little money-grubby, but that slight initial sense fell away as the old familiar voice and progress through internal and external worlds established themselves. No one mentions KOK in the same breath as Kerouac, even if both were deeply inspired by Proust and KOK's "inadvertent" met Reads almost like a re-mixed excerpt from My Struggle Book Five’s parts about writing. A typo on page 7 (“than” instead of “that”) on a page about trust made me distrust this one’s publication at first, thinking it a little money-grubby, but that slight initial sense fell away as the old familiar voice and progress through internal and external worlds established themselves. No one mentions KOK in the same breath as Kerouac, even if both were deeply inspired by Proust and KOK's "inadvertent" method echoes Kerouac's essentials of spontaneous prose. KOK also doesn't acknowledge that under-prestigious author with the tripthong surname -- he talks about canonical biggies Hamsun, Tolstoy, Borges, Cervantes, Joyce. Large print, 92 pages, a nice little red hardback if you take the dust jacket off. Interesting how effective even the slightest formal restraint is for him. What he writes is the inadvertent intuitive result of the form he imposes from the beginning. The form reveals the content instead of being something he reveals. Mostly worth it for completists, probably, although also maybe the best introduction to his thought processes, style, approach? I also liked that he reveres W&P, which I took a day's break from to read this. And I like how he talked about books as places where readers can go. Which reminds me of Frank Conroy banging the table, saying something like "we don't care about ideas or situations -- listen, this is coming from a lifetime of reading -- we care about worlds!" And furthermore I liked reading about KOK's failures, not only his early failed attempts, the novel his friend told him that wasn't good enough, but also the failed attempts (800 pages) of writing about his father's death, among other projects that he ultimately decided were not working. In all cases, when it does work for him, it's effortless, in that it's immersive and intuitive, more like reading, like he's following what he's creating.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "Thoughts are the enemy of the inadvertent, for if one thinks about how something will seem to others, if one thinks about if something is important or good enough, if one begins to calculate or pretend, then it is no longer inadvertent and accessable as itself, but only as what we have made it into." - Karl Ove Knausgaard, Inadvertent The second book published in the Windam-Campbell and Yale Press series 'Why I Write'. This short book is the lecture Knausgaard gave at the 2017 Windam-Campbell Pr "Thoughts are the enemy of the inadvertent, for if one thinks about how something will seem to others, if one thinks about if something is important or good enough, if one begins to calculate or pretend, then it is no longer inadvertent and accessable as itself, but only as what we have made it into." - Karl Ove Knausgaard, Inadvertent The second book published in the Windam-Campbell and Yale Press series 'Why I Write'. This short book is the lecture Knausgaard gave at the 2017 Windam-Campbell Prize ceremony at Yale. Knausgaard reflects on why he writes and his approach to writing. He travels a lot of the same ground he has traveled in his fiction, auto-biographical fiction, and his writing about art. He describes his motivations, inspiriations, frustrations, and theories of literature, art, life, form, and writing. Some of my favorite gems from this book: "Literature is not primarily a place for truths, it is the space where truths play out." (pg 2). "That is what writing is: creating a space in which something can be said." (pg 3). "All language casts a shadow, and that shadow can be more or less apprehended, but never quite controlled" (pg 13). "Writing is about making something accessable, allowing something to reveal itself." (pg 27). "This is because I have hit upon it inadvertently, or it has to hit upon me. It is one thing to know somehthing, another to write about it and often knowing stands in the way of writing." (pg 40). "Yes, I write because I want to open the world." (pg 46). "What we seek in art is meaning. The meaningful carries an obligation. With obligation comes consequences." (pg 65). "This was what I had been longing for. This was writing. To lose sight of yourself, and yet to use yourself, or that part of yourself that was beyond the control of your ego. And then to see something foreign appear on the page in front of you." (pg 81).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Campbell

    Karl Ove discourses on why he writes. He doesn't answer the question, but the way in which he didn't answer it was interesting and engaging. Edited: for clarity

  4. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    This book is like a slight touch of profundity, if you ask me. What he writes here, about spontaneous non-self-conscious prose writing, smacks heavily of Zen Buddhism and the illusion of free will. He might as well say, and pretty much does say, that he enters the zone and becomes the word, becomes the flow of words. The thoughts and words flow out of him in automatic fashion and only when they're on the page does he realize what he's written: to whit, in near-summation on the 2nd to last page: This book is like a slight touch of profundity, if you ask me. What he writes here, about spontaneous non-self-conscious prose writing, smacks heavily of Zen Buddhism and the illusion of free will. He might as well say, and pretty much does say, that he enters the zone and becomes the word, becomes the flow of words. The thoughts and words flow out of him in automatic fashion and only when they're on the page does he realize what he's written: to whit, in near-summation on the 2nd to last page: "...for me all writing is blind and intuitive, it either works or it doesn't, and any explanation of why a novel turned out the way it did will always be an ex post facto rationalization. Whatever works will force its way out in the end, as if by itself." There are plenty of good quotes to further elucidate his thinking on the subject, and there's also a focus on how he believes that form constraints help his writing in unpredictable and constructive ways, but again, as though automatic. He also talks about the influence of Proust, and Joyce and Hamsun, Turgenev and Tolstoy, and Le Guin, among others, and that, too, is a pleasure to read of how and why they influenced his conceptual frame of writing compelling prose. A lot of this felt personal to me, and that's one of his goals, to write so personally and honestly that readers cannot see any construction or design.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James

    It has a slow start, and a sudden ending, but overall it’s enjoyable to read Knausgaard’s thoughts on why he writes, or what led him to write in the way he does.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    This essay could stand as an out-take from My Struggle: Knausgaard reflecting on why he does what he does, (sometimes) who gets hurt, and what the whole point of that is.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melting Uncle

    So nice I listened to the audiobook twice. I think this would actually be a good first book if you've never read this author. Lots of cool KOK anecdotes including his attempt to watch Game of Thrones. I can't think of anything negative to say about this!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Within about one month we get three Knausgaard books. Summer, Inadvertent, My Struggle #6. It’s been a good month and My Struggle is out in 7 days. As for this book, it’s really just an essay/speech he gave about why he writes. It’s interesting as he wrestles with the intricacies of the answer to that question. He is quite honest about his motivations and aspirations for his work and for art in general. Some of the book seems almost verbatim from a few sections of My Struggle. But it’s only a sm Within about one month we get three Knausgaard books. Summer, Inadvertent, My Struggle #6. It’s been a good month and My Struggle is out in 7 days. As for this book, it’s really just an essay/speech he gave about why he writes. It’s interesting as he wrestles with the intricacies of the answer to that question. He is quite honest about his motivations and aspirations for his work and for art in general. Some of the book seems almost verbatim from a few sections of My Struggle. But it’s only a small fraction of the overall essay. It’s strengths were in asking some big questions about humanity and the world and then asking more questions and wrestling with it all. There isn’t a clean answer but it is somewhere between the real, or outer and the ideal, or inner, the part of us that words can’t do justice in communicating. It’s another solid Knausgaard read, if you’re a fan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I need to buy a copy of this book so I may freely highlight the many passages and thoughts that jumped out at me. I’ve never read anything by this author, but have heard of him. I found myself deeply fascinated by what he explained, as he tried to successfully describe why he writes, and found this tiny book full of so much insight to be a revelation and sadly, much too short! As someone who has tried to write throughout my life, faced self-doubt and crippling block, most of the time self-inflic I need to buy a copy of this book so I may freely highlight the many passages and thoughts that jumped out at me. I’ve never read anything by this author, but have heard of him. I found myself deeply fascinated by what he explained, as he tried to successfully describe why he writes, and found this tiny book full of so much insight to be a revelation and sadly, much too short! As someone who has tried to write throughout my life, faced self-doubt and crippling block, most of the time self-inflicted, there was so much here to identify with, so much that I need to reread and keep close. Hopefully, I’ll read more by this author. And soon! And sooner still, I have to purchase a copy of this essay. That is a must!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lee

    A beautiful meditation on writing, literature, reading and life. Knausgaard's descriptions here are simultaneously crystal clear and opaque as smoked glass. In the way most writing about writing is that is descriptive and confessional rather than didactic. And as is true of all writing (and all art) this book, even if unintentionally, is as much about the artist as the art, the author as the story it tells, the writer as the information it conveys. It drew me in and tossed me around. I was shock A beautiful meditation on writing, literature, reading and life. Knausgaard's descriptions here are simultaneously crystal clear and opaque as smoked glass. In the way most writing about writing is that is descriptive and confessional rather than didactic. And as is true of all writing (and all art) this book, even if unintentionally, is as much about the artist as the art, the author as the story it tells, the writer as the information it conveys. It drew me in and tossed me around. I was shocked by bits, loved others, found myself both at home and awash on a strange sea I'd never traveled nor would ever have traveled had I not picked up this book. I couldn't ask for anything more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    Let's keep this party going, volume 7.25 (a joke but I count Home and Away as 6.5, and the book three of the Quartet series as another half book). Inadvertent is a meta view of why Knausgard writes. It's a quarter of a My Struggle book. It's about why Karl Ove writes and his reflections on it; and what books jar him--A Wizard of Earthsea, Ulysses/The Dead, Madame Bovary, The Idiot, Hunger, War and Peace, Borges, Proust, and not Kundera, etc. At a slim 92 pages, this probably makes me a shy under Let's keep this party going, volume 7.25 (a joke but I count Home and Away as 6.5, and the book three of the Quartet series as another half book). Inadvertent is a meta view of why Knausgard writes. It's a quarter of a My Struggle book. It's about why Karl Ove writes and his reflections on it; and what books jar him--A Wizard of Earthsea, Ulysses/The Dead, Madame Bovary, The Idiot, Hunger, War and Peace, Borges, Proust, and not Kundera, etc. At a slim 92 pages, this probably makes me a shy under 6,000 of Knausgaard's work (I can't recall if I included "A Time for Everything" but I kind of doubt it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zac Smith

    didn't realize til after i bought it that it's just a speech he gave somewhere, not a special book object with its own literary merit. so it's mostly a rehash of some of the themes, ideas, and stories from book 5. i like his analysis of the question, how we navigate from too pretentious to too stupid and all in between. i liked his brief discussion of trends in literary analysis. but overall this is short and not super gripping. not worth the $20 hardcover -- it's like size 13 font with huge mar didn't realize til after i bought it that it's just a speech he gave somewhere, not a special book object with its own literary merit. so it's mostly a rehash of some of the themes, ideas, and stories from book 5. i like his analysis of the question, how we navigate from too pretentious to too stupid and all in between. i liked his brief discussion of trends in literary analysis. but overall this is short and not super gripping. not worth the $20 hardcover -- it's like size 13 font with huge margins and like 70 pages. would fit better in a collection of essays or something.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fredrikke Wongraven

    karl ove knausgård has become my favourite author after the "my struggle"-series and when i heard about this book i just had to get it. it did not disappoint. knausgård manages to amaze me once again. the way he describes writing really resonates with me and i think his writing exercises seemed interesting. i would recommend this book to any person who wants to write a book (which is probably all of us).

  14. 4 out of 5

    LongTrang117

    Love this dude. Beautiful little book (essay) on 'why he writes'. He's got some ideas, in his typically simple but eloquently tangled way. If you're going to spend the time to read Karl Ove's 'My Struggle' series, perhaps a quick primer on his writing process would be beneficial. Great one hour keynote address for the 2017 Windham-Campbell Prizes, https://lithub.com/karl-ove-video/

  15. 4 out of 5

    Luis Borjas

    Knausgaard's takes his frank, insightful prose and applies it to the art of the metaliterary essay with success in this brief tome: you see the struggles and contradictions of someone with a vocation for writing with painful self-awareness of his place among the greats.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David W. Berner

    More Knausgaard insight and beautiful writing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Stuart Barnett

    Another 5 star for Karl Ove.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    A good book, of a piece with the My Struggle series in terms of investigating his motivations to be a writer.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bob Peru

    for the completist.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    Knausgard has set the bar so high for himself that this felt just a little bit short of the mark.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Loved it. This reader/writer's contemplation of the importance of his writing and overcoming personal obstacles along his artistic journey was inspiring and reaffirming.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Goodman

    Wonderful insight as everything is, written with the same self-deprecating/paranoid wit and depth of analysis that made his My Struggle cycle so seminal.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alice

  26. 5 out of 5

    B

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leggy Wolf

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jen Von Ghoul

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris Via

  30. 4 out of 5

    Siret U

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