> Skip to content

From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons

The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller
The New York Times Bestseller
From the author of the monumental My Struggle series, Karl Ove Knausgaard, one of the masters of contemporary literature and a genius of observation and introspection, comes the first in a new autobiographical quartet based on the four seasons
I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees. You will come to see it in your own way, you will experience things for yourself and live a life of your own, so of course it is primarily for my own sake that I am doing this: showing you the world, little one, makes my life worth living.

Autumn
begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter, showing her what to expect of the world. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with the precision and mesmerising intensity that have become his trademark. With acute sensitivity he describes daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden, drawing upon memories of his own childhood to give an inimitably tender perspective on the precious and unique bond between parent and child. Nothing is too small or too vast to escape his attention; this is a personal encyclopaedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Beautifully illustrated by Vanessa Baird, this tender and deeply personal book is the first of four volumes marvelling at the vast, unknowable universe around us.

Reviews

Diverse and delightful… These sharp little essays, mostly only two pages long, capture the wonder of things with photographic immediacy… This is an inspiring, surprising collection.

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

Knausgaard brilliantly conveys the sense you get, as a prospective parent, that the world is brand new… It’s all beautifully done.

William Leith, Evening Standard

In Autumn, a lyrical cabaret beside the grand opera of the My Struggle books, taboo memories and forbidden feelings disrupt the grown-up project of a compendium of fatherly wisdom... Autumn glows with a radiant attachment to 'the world, as it is'... From sunshine to head-lice, it celebrates the 'dizzying intensity of being'.

The Economist

The first volume of the Seasons quartet quietly illuminates Knausgaard's profound gift for making the reader see the world in fresh and unpredictable ways.

Stuart Evers, The Observer

This book is full of wonders… Loose teeth, chewing gum, it all becomes noble, almost holy, under Knausgaard’s patient, admiring gaze. The world feels repainted.

Parul Sehgal, New York Times

Autumn… returns to the scintillating tangent that characterized the early volumes of My Struggle, when he still allowed his midlife self airtime. On each subject [Knausgaard] combines an almost comically microscopic focus with a stealthy flair for producing a bigger picture that is all the more arresting for arriving by surprise.

Anthony Cummins, Daily Telegraph

It is when elements of autobiography creep in that the book comes most alive, as when he writes about choosing his father’s wellington boots as a memento after his death.

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

Knausgaard writes about the textures of ordinariness with a microscopic focus that’s both wondrous and absurd… There are blissful glimpses of nature’s mystery and balance.

Henry Hitchings, Financial Times

Taking the old repetitive elements of life, Knausgaard’s detailed observations open our eyes to their unexpected yet remarkable qualities.

Kathleen McNamee, Irish Times

Knausgaard’s sentences, as long as waves, use the plainest, least literary language. You paddle out unsuspecting. This is easy, you think, striking out. But Knausgaard writes by undertow. Turn round and you are alone, far out in the drowning solitudes… It is truly hopeful and this, for Knausgaard, is a departure.

Laura Beatty, Oldie

Knausgaard is an acute, sometimes squirmingly honest analyst of domesticity and his relationship to his family.

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Newsweek Europe

Having given us his saga of experience, these are Knausgaard’s Songs of Innocence… The tension for the reader lies in watching the author navigate his way from the banal into the celestial otherness of the thing he is encountering… Knausgaard sees the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower.

Frances Wilson, Times Literary Supplement

In these secular meditations, Knausgaard scratches away at the ordinary to reach the sublime – finding what’s in the picture, and what’s hidden

Rodney Welch, Washington Post

The work itself varies between being excessively frustrating to the darkly funny, to the deeply cerebral. It’s remarkably tender, too: this entire project is to give his infant daughter, Anna, a guide to the world as her father sees it. It is, in essence, the world’s most literary toilet book

Caroline O'Donoghue, Irish Times

Superlative… On each subject he combines an almost comically microscopic focus with a stealthy flair for producing a bigger picture that is all the more arresting for arriving by surprise… It is the grown-up antithesis of the midlife crisis novel, comfortable in its own skin, autobiographical without being exhibitionist

Anthony Cummins, Irish Independent

For all his rapturous passages of ecstasy and agony, Karl Ove Knausgaard can also make you laugh… From sunshine to head-lice, it celebrates the “dizzying intensity of being”

The Economist

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9781910701638

    August 28, 2017

    Harvill Secker

    240 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

Again. That’s the thing about things. They fall apart, always have, always will, it’s in their nature. So an old old man washes up on a shore. He looks like a punctured football with its stitching split, the leather kind that people kicked a hundred years ago. The sea’s been rough. It has taken the shirt off his back; naked as the day I was born are the words in the head he moves on its neck, but it hurts to. So try not to move the head. What’s this in his mouth, grit? it’s sand, it’s under his tongue, he can feel it, he can hear it grinding when his teeth move against each other, singing its sand-song: I’m ground so small, but in the end I’m all, I’m softer if I’m underneath you when you fall, in sun I glitter, wind heaps me over litter, put a message in a bottle, throw the bottle in the sea, the bottle’s made of me, I’m the hardest grain to harvest

to harvest

the words for the song trickle away. He is tired. The sand in his mouth and his eyes is the last of the grains in the neck of the sandglass.

Continue Reading

Also by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Winter
Fatherhood
Home and Away
Some Rain Must Fall
Dancing in the Dark
Boyhood Island
A Man in Love
A Death in the Family

Recommendations

Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography
The Pigeon Tunnel
The Princess Diarist
The Boy Behind the Curtain
Anything Is Possible
Everything to Live For
Late Essays
Hooked
When Breath Becomes Air
Not All Black and White
Lion: A Long Way Home
In Order To Live
The Choice
The Fair and the Foul
Not Your Average Nurse
The Man Who Climbs Trees
Life Sentence
The Sidekicks
Thrive
Beyond Veiled Clichés