Monday, April 08, 2013

Noted: Karl Ove Knausgaard

In Karl Ove Knausgaard's remarkable novel, A Time For Everything (translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson), this passage comes from the novella-length section about Noah and the flood:
Milka had borne him. She'd known him since before he'd been born, his movements, the small habits that had formed while he lay floating within her, she had looked forward to his coming, and when he had come, he'd been just as she'd expected. Not in appearance, but in the atmosphere he brought with him. Perhaps it had something to with the way he'd looked at her the first time? Perhaps it was something about the way he'd crawled, still bloody and slimy, toward her breast? For months after the birth he'd been part of her, it had just been the two of them, nothing else existed, and even after that first time was over, and he slipped into the rhythm and life of the family, he was part of her. She knew his body as well as she knew her own. She washed him every day, she held him close every day, there wasn't an inch of his body her hands hadn't touched. When he raised his head for the first time, she'd been there, when he crawled for the first time, she'd been there, when he said his first word, she'd been there. All this had been stored within her. That was where he was. The smell of him, the taste of him, the feel of his skin against hers. Barak was a part of her, and when he died, a part of her died. Not in a figurative sense. Her body asked for Barak, it asked for Barak all the time, but it no longer got any answer.

For her it was no good throwing away everything to do with Barak, as his father had begun to do. For some reason this knowledge made her sorrow easier. There was comfort in knowing that, that the sorrow would never leave her. That it would always be with her.

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