Proust or Knausgârd

A la recherché du temps perdu is a novel, right? But it is a fictional treatment suggested by Proust’s real life experiences. Yet Knausgârd refers to his six part work, Min Kamp, as an autobiographical novel. Same thing?

One obvious difference is that Proust, as they say, changed the names to protect the innocent. Knausgârd, not so much. In fact, the biggest criticism against My Struggle was the over-exposure of personal histories, often in a manner that distorted the truth, ostensibly to improve the narrative and possibly to contort the reality to fit the themes of the fiction as the author envisioned it..

In other words: It’s All Fiction!!

I had an acquaintance who would regularly perk up a fuzzy discussion of literature with the pronouncement, “All literature is autobiographical.” Well, Duh. If my life experience is maintained as memories in my brain and I dip into that same brain for even the most imaginative of stories, it’s actually based on me and what or who I have experienced … autobiographical even.

Things go into my mind; things come out of my mind; sometimes I write them down.

But sometimes we read what other people have written. Still, even if someone else writes down the stuff that flows out of their minds and then I read them, it’s the memory of my reading them; and if I subsequently write including the effect of those memories … again, autobiographical.

Or is all literature a Grecian urn?

Last month’s reading selections should offer at least one or two opportunities to test this out.

05-01-22 – Glory — NoViolet Bulawayo
05-02-22 – The Dolphin House — Audrey Schulman
05-03-22 – The Heroine With 1,001 Faces — Maria Tatar
05-04-22 – The Peacock Emporium: A Novel — Jojo Myes
05-05-22 – Love In the Time of Contagion — Laura Kipnis
95-06-22 – A Very Nice Girl — Imogen Crimp
05-07-22 – The Drunken Spelunker’s Guide to Plato — Kathy Guiffre
05-08-22 – Fall; or, Dodge in Heaven: A Novel — Neal Stevenson
05-08-22 – Jawbone — Monica Ojeda
05-09-22 – The Arrangement — Elia Kazan
05-10-22 – Portrait of an Unknown Lady — Maria Gainza
05-11-22 – “H” Is for Homicide — Sue Grafton
05-12-22 – How to Wrestle a Girl — Venita Blackburn
05-13-22 – Present Tense Machine— Gunnhild Øyehaug
05-14-22 – Something New Under the Sun — Alexandra Kleeman
05-15-22 – A Gun For Sale — Graham Greene
05-16-22 – The Swimmers — Julie Otsuka
05-17-22 – The Final Case — David Guterson
05-18-22 – The Fruit Thief — Peter Handke
05-19-22 – The Doloriad — Missouri Williams
05-20-22 – New Animal — Ella Baxter
05-21-22 – The Verifiers — Jane Pek
05-22-22 – Dancing with the Octopus — Debora Harding
05-23-22 – Wasted Vigil — Nadeem Aslam
05-24-22 – The Fell — Sarah Moss
05-25-22 – Life Without Children — Roddy Doyle
05-26-22 – Woman — Lillian Faderman
05-27-22 – Girl Logic — Iliza Shlesinger
05-28-22 – Don’t Know Tough — Eli Cranor
05-29-22 – Ocean State — Stewart O’Nan
05-30-22 – Scattered All Over the Earth — Yoko Tawada
05-31-22 – Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos — Attn Ogi.

2 thoughts on “Proust or Knausgârd

  1. A recommendation: I’d Like To Say Sorry, but There’s No One To Say Sorry To by Mikolaj Grynberg. A collection of short stories, all dealing with Jews in Poland, some during the Holocaust, but most in the years since. It is so good, and I feel it is right up your alley.


    1. I’ve added it to my list. There’s just too many good books to read nowadays and, as is oft mentioned, too little time. As for me on my downhill skid, thank goodness for books available in digital format.


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