Headline, October 01 2023/ ''' THE WOLVES OF ETERNITY '''



IT HAS NEVER BEEN THE NOVELIST'S JOB to solve the world. As the late Milan Kunders put it : '' A novel does not assert anything ; a novel searches and poses questions.'' 

'' But in our maniac and precarious times, fiction that conveys no sense of a world in upheaval can feel partial. There is so much pressing on all of us; so many things feel urgent again.

With '' The Wolves of Eternity,'' The Norwegian distance runner Karl Ove Knausgaard brings us his second massive speculative novel in three years. Like its predecessor, '' The Morning Star '' [2020], the new novel comprises multiple narratives filtered through various characters.

The two also share the conviction that we live in edge times and that the stakes for all of us are now very high.

Knausgaard's title is drawn from a poem by the Russian writer Marina Tsvetaeva : '' However much you feed a wolf, it always looks to the forest. We are all wolves of the dense forest of Eternity.''

His epigraph is from Revelations and includes the phrase '' there shall be no more death.'' An idea of the novel's metaphysical scope is figured from the start.

The bulk of ''Wolves'' is parceled out archipelago-like among four characters, with the expectation that the connections between them will be the big reveal. The first half, a section titled '' Syvert, '' is the nachor narrative. The year is 1986.

Syvert is the young Norwegian man arriving home to his small town after completing his military service. He is 19. He moves in with his mother and younger brother, and around his disaffected meanderings a world slowly materializes. And after a time - no hurry - the first hints of mystery are introduced.

Knausgaard is known to be the Homer of the day-to-day. '' I poured myself some juice, took a couple of slices of ham, then spooned a couple of dollops of the rice porridge onto the, '' a typical passage begins.

A good bit of the of this ordinary life plays out before Syvert looks through his father's boxes in the barn one day and comes upon a stack of Russian books. Then he finds a cache of hand written letters in Cyrillic. He searches out a man who can translate. There was another woman, another life.

Still, except for Syvert's nagging unease, things seem normal enough. Reconnecting with old friends, he joins a soccer team.

He meets a young woman, Lisa, at a club. He spends time with his brother, Joar ; sometimes later, when his mother falls ill and is taken to the hospital, he becomes the boy's caretaker.

To keep the family afloat, Syvert takes the only job he can find - as an undertaker's assistant. He writes a letter to a Russian address he found, but there is no response. The section ends in suspense with his mother still in the hospital and Lisa sending him mixed signals about her feelings.

TIME passes and other narratives follow. We meet Alevtina, a Russian scientist who is giving lectures to students.

This is now the Putin era. Alevtina is about to set off for her home village to celebrate her father's 80th birthday when she unexpectedly encounters her estranged friend Vasalisa.

Their interaction, like their bond is, is mysterious. Vasalisa is a writer, working on a project she says is running away from her. Alevtina is, by her own admission, adrift in life.

In their respective sections each woman indulges her soul-revealing obsession. At her father's house, Alevtina remembers the time she spent at a rural retreat of scientists.

Knausgaard zooms in, allowing her to retrace at length her growing interest in the life of trees, their symbiotic fungal networks and her thoughts about the possible kind of symbiosis between human and natural worlds. These thoughts, which go on for many pages, have reach :

LIFE emerged when something was held firm, and whatever did that has never let go. That something was information, in the form of a very particular language in a code that had remained unchanged ever since.

These relationships, full of misunderstandings, concessions and reconciliations, feel real without agenda.

The fierce, unending heat wave dominating the last sections of the novel - first published in Norway in 2021 - was straight out of our own summer's headline news. It was as if the covers had opened directly onto the world outside the door.

Book Review : ' The Wolves of Eternity ' By Karl Ove Knausgaard. The World Students Society thanks author Sven Birkerts.

With respectful dedication to Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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