October Child

Linda Boström Knausgård, trans. from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel. World Editions, $16.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-642-86089-4
Swedish novelist Boström Knausgård (The Helios Disaster) brilliantly melds memoir and speculative nonfiction in her stirring account of the four years she spent in and out of a psychiatric ward. “I wish I could tell you all about the factory, but I can’t... soon I’ll no longer be able to remember my days or nights or why I was born,” she writes, before describing the many electroconvulsive therapy procedures she underwent from 2013 to 2017 at a mental institution she was periodically committed to for severe depression. (“I had a weakness inside me and all throughout my being, so I ended up at this place a lot.”) In dramatic juxtaposition, she pieces together dreamlike recollections of a childhood spent with a capricious actress-mother, and her adulthood, when she struggled with bipolar disorder and motherhood (“I frightened my children”), and married and divorced the novelist Karl Ove Knausgård. The loose narrative hauntingly evokes the uncertain haze and hallucinations she experienced during her repeated institutionalizations, before she was released at age 45 and reconnected with her four children. Part fever-dream, part quest to retrieve her memories (“because what good is a writer without her memory?”), Boström Knausgård’s account expertly plumbs the treacherous crevasses of a creative mind. Agent: Monica Gram, Copenhagen Literary. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/23/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-64286-092-4
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